These days, it is almost as if Blood Red Shoes see the reoccurring “how can two people make so much noise?” comment as a challenge – their latest offering, ‘Water’, is the noisiest the duo have ever sounded, putting an even further distance between them and their earlier material and taking a further step into the distorted, messy territory explored on last year’s ‘In Time To Voices’.
Consisting of just three songs, the EP comes across as just a taster of things to come in 2013, with the seemingly gearing up for a full scale attack on the grunge revival scene. Their sound no longer comprises of energetic and bouncy indie, instead replacing commerciality for abundant levels of instrumentation often deliberately placed at contradictory angles. The final track on the EP, ‘Idle Hands’, provides a shining example of how mismatched layers can result in a wall of noise that somehow retains its coherence. It is a technique that flows through the veins of the EP, with each track allowing distortion to overrule melody, while simultaneously allowing just enough of the tune to reach the surface in order to infiltrate the overall sound.
‘Black Distraction’ and ‘Idle Hands’ place Steven Ansell at the helm – not unsurprising in itself, zx the male vocals sit more comfortably against the musical direction. Where Laura-Mary Carter takes charge on the opening track (‘Red River’) the band veer closer to their previous sound, though the cleanliness of the vocals that led the likes of ‘Don’t Ask’ and ‘You Bring Me Down’ from their first two albums has been permanently replaced. Both Ansell and Carter sound deeper, darker and raspier. Their obvious leanings towards grunge and stoner rock that started to bubble some time ago are now the driving force behind the sound.
Blood Red Shoes never did quite fit in the box they inhabited from 2008. From their debut release onwards there has been an evident shift in style; slowly introducing heavier and sludgy guitars – taking influence from down-tempo rock from the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, and from the post-grunge movement. If anything, ‘Water’ marks their final transformation. Not that the duo could ever be described as pop, yet ‘Water’ sees their comparably upbeat history washed away.