FOR SAMA DVD Review

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  A RISK TOO FAR

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  Montreux Jazz Fest at Home!

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  Camden Rocks 2019 - Day 2

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  Roger Waters on Amused To Death


New Albums

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Blood Red Shoes GET TRAGIC. Jazz Life 2

I last saw this band perform at Liverpool’s Sound City festival and was very impressed, and especially with the sound produced from justdrums and a guitar. The duo were amazing with Laura-Mary Carter providing a vocal of tremendous power and range. Electronic ‘Eye To Eye’ opens the album is a slowly drifting cloud of a song which boasts great production (from Nick Launay - Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), haunting atmosphere and its fair share of melody. Next comes ‘Mexican Dress’ which is a pop-rock song with a driving bass rhythm, catchy choruses and truckloads of melody. It could well be the band’s first single off the album.

‘Bangs’ offers up generous helpings of adventure with its thumping beat, distant vocals featuring Steve Ansell. It’s certainly one of the highlights of this excellent album and potentially another all-conquering single. ‘Nearer’ is arguably the darkest song here with its distorted guitars, pleading vocals and suffocating ambience. ‘Beverly’ features a deadbeat drum rhythm with Carter’s voice flowing over it in contemplative style. Lyrically, it’s reflective of the following story of the duos battles to survive. At this point I’m hoping to catch this band perform again and specifically with a setlist brimming with these tunes…

‘Find My Own Remorse’ is an electronic humdinger with Ansell again featuring against a heart-beat backdrop. It’s a clever song full of sonic wonders and deep, emotional meaning. It’s another highlight and highly distinctive. ‘Howl’ features Carter back on full vocal duties explaing how the relationship affected here. There’s desperation in her voice - “I’ve been waiting on my own” - while melody and Ansell’s drums drive the message home.

‘Anxiety’ is one of the rockiest songs here with Carter’s guitar riff dominating angrily while Ansell pleads. There’s eleven great songs here that should place Blood Red Shoes back in touch and beating the rather unimaginative music fodder we are fed each day on radio. This is the band’s best album to-date and given radio with a fair wind should create many new friends. Essential

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4.5/5

https://www.bloodredshoes.co.uk/

Background

Few acts have gone to hell and back (repeatadly) and come back fighting:

Brighton duo BLOOD RED SHOES have announced a handful of intimate UK and European dates for 2019; in support of the release of their fifth album GET TRAGIC. If you’ll excuse the idiom, Blood Red Shoes have been through hell and back. Accidents, heartbreak and a career curse have plagued the Brighton duo on the road to their new LP, the appropriately-, knowingly-titled Get Tragic. “I don’t even know when this began,” laughs Laura-Mary Carter, nervously. “It feels like… a lifetime.”

Relentlessly gigging off the back of their 2014 self-produced and self-titled record, the heels finally fell off of Blood Red Shoes at the end of that same year. “We finished touring and then we…” Laura breaks off, “we weren’t sure if we were gonna be a band anymore.” Drummer Steven Ansell interjects with his habitual bluntness: “We fuckin’ hated each other, is what you’re politely trying to say.”

A near-decade of incessant road time and a non-stop pace of life finally took its toll, they explain. Stopping only to quickly hammer out “another ten songs” to release as their next record, before ploughing straight back into touring, the pair exhausted themselves to the point of collapse. “We didn’t, at any point, have a breather,” says Steven, “We probably didn’t see each other for about 10 days a year, tops, for six or seven years.” Understandably, such incessant close proximity led to implosion. “We got the to the end of the fourth record and were like, ‘Fuck you, I never want to see you again’,” Steven adds, half-laughing, half-sighing.

Laura packed her bags and bought a ticket to Los Angeles, a complete radio-silence between the two bandmates stretching on for months. She fell in with a songwriter’s crowd, penning tracks and collaborations with big-time pop producers and pitching songs for the likes of Rihanna. It provided her with “a lot of time to reassess,” she says. Steven, conversely, “went out and took drugs and went clubbing for about half a year,” he laughs. “I don’t remember a lot about it. Classic break-up move, right?”

That’s the whole running theme of this record,” says Steven. “The reason we called it GET TRAGIC is because we realised that everything we’ve been doing over the last three years is kinda tragic!” he says, prompting laughter from the pair. “Just like, ‘Ooh, I hate you, I’m going to America to find myself’, and like ‘Ooh, I’m gonna party for the rest of the year!’ Everything about it is such a cliché – we were like, ‘We’ve turned into a fuckin tragedy!’”

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GET TRAGIC, then, fully embraces the absurdity of Blood Red Shoes’ situation. As a result, the pair come out the other side sounding fresher and more assured than ever. “It got to a point where it was like, if this is gonna work, we’ve gotta change everything,” stresses Laura, while Steve adds that at one point, they even considered ditching the band name. Recording in the States, working with a new producer, ditching the two-piece rock rulebook they arguably helped write – everything that went into GET TRAGIC was a leap into the unknown. “So, we decided we were gonna do that,” says Laura, “and then… everything from that point has been a total disaster.”

If you thought a near-break up was the be-all and end-all of Blood Red Shoes’ tragedy, you’re not even part-way there. Their first move, post-reconciliation? A writing retreat in rural Wales, which saw them woken up by the village community leaders, who entered the house while they were sleeping and banished them from town, fearful of the rock group’s proximity to the local church. “It was literally one step away from like, pitchforks,” says Steven. “The road was called Dark Lane,” adds Laura, “Like, for fuck’s sake.”

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