Blood Red Shoes – In Time To Voices
Released: 26/03/2012 on V2
On the surface, it would seem that Blood Red Shoes haven't changed much since 2008 debut Box of Secrets. Both their previous LPs have used the services of producer Mike Coffey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals) and so it remains on In Time To Voices. But this album is undoubtedly a game-changer for the duo. It somehow manages to be simultaneously haunting, aggressive, sensual and uplifting all in one tidy package.
A wide range of sounds are expertly pulled together on this album to create a genuine musical masterpiece. When the album slows on chilling 'Night Light', it is immediately followed by the rough and ready 'Je Me Perds', a short (1 min 28) burst of speed and screeching vocals. Rather than the contrast being jarring, it actually flows in superb fashion. As a standalone track, 'Night Light' itself is outstanding, a softly menacing hum of guitars and drum beats over which Laura-Mary Carter languidly chants “I'm the ghost you made of me”.
Many of the tracks on In Time To Voices follow the familiar pattern of a slow start building up to a thrilling crescendo of sound. This is done to such great effect that it doesn't really matter that it's repeated time and again throughout the album. The explosion of noise that kicks in halfway through opener 'In Time To Voices' is utterly different to the raw anger and frustration of 'Lost Kids' and yet the two blend seamlessly. It's a magnificently crafted and produced album and this is evident from the off.
My personal highlights from the album are lead single 'Cold' – a track with so much energy it could power a rocket, a frankly filthy rhythm and intriguing changes in tempo. When the track cuts away to Laura-Mary's angelic vocals at the end it's something like a relief; not because the track is over, but because the drop in energy is so breathtakingly atmospheric. 'Lost Kids' is the opposite, a fairly straightforward track that at the same time conveys with conviction the desperation and violence of the 2011 riots. 'Stop Kicking' is also a highlight, where the pair show off their knack for a great melody and a catchy chorus, and is the track that best showcases Steven Ansell's gravelly vocals.
However, the album does begin to deteriorate towards the end, with two tracks that feel a little like filler - 'Slip Into Blue' and 'Down Here In The Dark'; on the surface, perfectly adequate songs, but their endings feel too drawn out despite being nowhere near the longest tracks on the LP. It's rescued with a bang though by closer '7 Days', a near-perfect finale with Steven and Laura-Mary's voices on top form on a track filled with drama and a driving, pounding rhythm.
In Time To Voices is an album that will no doubt be regarded as a classic in years to come, and is a creation Blood Red Shoes can be immensely proud of. A must-have album.
Turn On: Cold, Lost Kids
Turn Off: Slip Into Blue, Down Here In The Dark