Album Review: Blood Red Shoes - ‘Get Tragic’
It’s been a turbulent time for Brighton duo Blood Red Shoes.
In 2014, after the incessant close-proximity of relentless touring and the release of their self-titled fourth album, the pair parted ways on not-so-great terms: “We didn’t, at any point, have a breather. We probably didn’t see each other for about 10 days a year, tops, for six or seven years. We got to the end of the fourth record and were like, ‘Fuck you, I never want to see you again,’” Steven Ansel, vocalist and drummer explained.
Vocalist and guitarist Laura Mary-Carter took her song-writing prowess off to LA, while Ansel says he went for the “classic break-up move”, going out, taking drugs and “clubbing for about half a year. I don’t remember a lot about it.”
Fast forward five years, and the pair roared back into action with the announcement of their fifth album, ‘Get Tragic’, and a rumbling lead single about searching for hits of validation in real life and online; ‘Mexican Dress’.
Released via their own label, Jazz Life, ‘Get Tragic’ sees Blood Red Shoes introduce synth-led, dark electronic elements to their distinctively heavy sound. And they’ve struck gold with it; there’s a renewed confidence in their sound. Take, for example, the deliciously gloomy ‘Beverly’, or hit-the-ground-running opening track ‘Eye to Eye’. Staying true to their fuzz-rock roots with the sleazy riffs, chugging bass lines and hedonistic lyricism that Blood Red Shoes carved a name from. But they’ve masterfully interspersed it with synth-heavy, adroit production; a gift in disguise from the broken arm Carter experienced during the production process. The injury forced her to swap her guitar for a keyboard and undertake increased vocal duties that saw her Eighties’ femme-punk tones shine. Embracing the tragedy, eh?
‘Get Tragic’ is a real phoenix rising for the duo. Born from a period of band-breaking exhaustion, it shakes dormant fans awake with a bold step into a moody, electronic ethos. Blood Red Shoes didn’t just get tragic; they embraced their tragedies and embarked on a full-throttle return, louder and brasher than ever, and cooking up a distinctive synth-rock recipe to boot.
Words by Madeleine Dunne