Published Oct 28, 2010Blood Red Shoes remember the 1990s clearly. Playing fast and loud, the Brighton, UK-bred duo mined an all-star list of bygone influences – from Veruca Salt and Nirvana to Fugazi and Rainer Maria – in a set that thrived on earnestness and, ultimately, brevity.
A straight-ahead drums/guitar setup has inherent limitations. Similarly composed acts overcome the framework in various ways, including the White Stripes' virtuoso, blues-indebted guitar or Japandroids' playful bravado. Blood Red Shoes stayed closer to the latter, running out of every gate, all hands on deck.
Guitarist Laura-Mary Carter has a fondness for power chords and sporadic distortion, while Steven Ansell's drumming comes from the hit-hard school, à la Dave Grohl. From the outset – a blue-collar, Queens of the Stone Age-evoking take on "It's Getting Boring by the Sea" – they went large and sonorous. When at their best, the band brought anthemic highlights like visceral single "Heartsink," with its yell-along chorus and shredded guitar, and the enthralling, incisive fret-board monotony of "Don't Ask."
Conversely, repetition hampered cuts like "This Is Not for You" – despite the Louise Post-style vocals – and the staid "It Is Happening Again." Also, mall-kid lyricism on "Say Something, Say Anything" (i.e., "how long can you miss someone?") distracted from the track's bombast.
Still batting above average, the well-executed '90s punk homage "Light It Up" and the sticky, rapid-fire chorus on "You Bring Me Down" broke the temporary snag. Judiciously brief and mostly raucous, it was a hands-in-the-air set with passable moshing and amiable swagger.