Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This

There are moments that smash you across the face with their power.

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Released 15 Mar 2010 | V2 / Co-op | By Andrew Grillo | Rating: 3-5
Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This

'Fire Like This' is the follow up to Brighton based duo Blood Red Shoes' debut 'Box Of Secrets'; a frantic blast of boy/girl vocals, terrorised drum kits and serrated guitar noise. Only some felt that despite the bands prior embrace of the DIY ethic, the constraints of a major label had impacted on the slightly surprising polish of their first full length offering. However hardcore fans will be pleased that 'FLT' possesses all the energy of before while the production is more fitting, at once more able to bludgeon at full force and also step back and let songs breathe when necessary.

Opening track 'Don't Ask' starts things off at a furious pace and the pair conjure no little venom. The tandem vocals of Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell are present and correct once more and after the thrilling conclusion you may feel like you've received a comprehensive lesson in rock dynamics.

There seems to have been a conscious effort to keep the sound raw here, throughout the record owes little to overdubs. Maybe now the band are confident enough to let the songs stand on energy and chemistry alone. So aside from the production what's changed? Well, despite the frequency of moments that smash you across the face with their power there are more also times here that things drop away and there is space to contemplation. 'Light It Up' features a more low key verse but when the jeering chorus kicks in those Nirvana comparisons are more pertinent than ever.

Despite the change in tact regarding production and a smattering of quieter moments these are minor tweaks rather than a complete overhaul of their sound and in fact nothing on display on 'Fire Like This' would sound out of place on the debut. Once again this isn't an album that is particularly challenging lyrically and although the energy doesn't drop the constant crash bang wallop of the tracks does mean that the middle section of the album melds into a bit of a sludge.

Laura-Mary Carter is on fine vocal fettle here, although the brattishness recognisable from the debut is still present her voice has thickened and now sounds audibly stronger, she's particularly effective on the sultry verse of 'It Is Happening Again'. Meanwhile 'Follow The Lines' benefits from resisting the urge to explode and 'One More Empty Chair' shows an added guile and results in a strong end to the record after a lull in the middle.

All in all this is a strong follow up to a debut that had it's moments but probably wasn't given too many repeat listens six months after release. The broadening of the sonic palette and improved songwriting means that 'Fire Like This' is likely to be a more satisfying listen for longer and establishes the band as made of sterner material than those that fall away after early promise.