Man, I love doing these Throwback Thursday retro reviews, it’s always so much fun to look back at albums I didn’t or couldn’t review on release and discuss how I feel about it and pick it apart from attributes to downfalls, but man does it make me feel old and scare me constantly as it becomes more and more obvious that time is running away. Still, here comes another one, and this week we’re looking back only five years to 2012 and the release of one of my favourite albums from the entire year, ‘In Time To Voices’ by Brighton alt-rock duo Blood Red Shoes.
‘In Time To Voices’ was the bands third studio album after being a unit for only eight years at that point and it was a record that woke a lot of people up to them, and introduced an entirely new fan base. The reason was more than likely to be nothing more than exposure and commercial backing, which was well deserved too, but when you go back over the record it shouldn’t be any surprise that it expanded their fan base as just about every track is a winner. Sounding like an angrier version of The Subways and managing to blur the lines between psych and heavy rock, they produced an exciting sound and a unique brand. Even more exciting and impressive was their stage shows as it was amazing to think that two people, one of which was playing drums and providing vocals at the same time, in a manner that hadn’t been seen since Levon Helm with The Band. The title track kicks things off and it’s that perfect blend of smooth, sultry vocals from Laura-Mary Carter set against low guitars and minimal drums before exploding into the angsty, punk-esque culmination the song finally meets, which features some amazing lead guitar also. ‘Lost Kids’ is immediately a stand out to with duelling vocals and gritty riffs, and then of course we come to lead single release ‘Cold’ which still stands as a favourite track of the past ten years for me with it’s fast paced drum rolls, fuzzy guitar licks and the contrast in vocal styles. Carter clearly sings in a high pitch, while Steven Ansell goes with all out shouting and screaming but with defiant aggression, but the best part is that as Ansell takes over the vocal, that seems to give Carter the opportunity to shred the hell out of the guitar, acting almost as a drop leading into the second verse, reinvigorating the entire track with every exchange. After three absolute face melters the middle of the album calms down considerably and ‘Two Dead Minutes’ acts as a down tempo break, letting us take a breather from the chaos and get recalibrated. ‘The Silence & The Drones’ begins in a similar way but dives head first at times into a riotous display of rock n roll, and ‘Night Light’ reaches an even higher level of ambience which you’d have never expected, considering the beginning of the album. Just as you’re settled in and happy with the relaxing atmosphere they’d set, ‘Je Me Perds’ kicks off quickly and without warning and is without doubt the most chaotic track on the album.
The ups and downs continue throughout and showcase nothing more or less than perfect, noisy, angry rock music and to think the sounds emanating from the speakers have been created by two people. They went on to release a self titled album two years later and without spoilers, I can tell you they didn’t miss a step, in fact you can check out my review from 2014 of their first single from the album, ‘The Perfect Mess’ right here on mojo20.com. So go on then, go get some Blood Red Shoes playing and head into the weekend the right way.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)