Blood Red Shoes GHOSTS ON TAPE

Blood Red Shoes
Ghosts On Tape
Velveteen Records

Still Crazy After All These Years!

I feel that I should start this review with an admission that I have been a fan of Blood Red Shoes since they issued Box Of Secrets as far back as 2008; and I’ve seen then on several occasions over the years.
Not that I would dream of allowing this to affect my judgement on their new release!
It’s interesting that one half of BRS has just released her first solo album and Laura May Carter has produced an album that is quite different to the BRS offerings over the years, so I was intrigued to hear if there were any changes to the duo’s raison d’etre since their last release, the 2018 Get Tragic.
Laura-May and Steve Ansell have got back together again after living on either sides of the Atlantic and Ghosts On Tape was written in LA, but wasn’t recorded until they were both back in the UK.
The pandemic has obviously affected the duo as much as it has the rest of the music industry but I’m sure they are pleased with the outcome of their endeavours.
A gentle piano solo leads us into the opener ‘Comply’ and dark and sombre vocals from Steve – a hint that this may well be a mood changer from Get Tragic.
The single from the new album, ‘Morbid Fascination’ follows and here, Laura-May delivers a vocal a la Depeche Mode with a driving almost psychedelic feel to match the view that this is clearly a major change from any of their early albums.
A classic Blood Red Shoes track and probably the highlight of the set.
Laura-May takes the lead again on track 3, ‘Murder Me’ with the dark mood maintained in the title, , but the overall effect is another very catchy well written and delivered song but there is one minor point I would like to make and that is that I wish they would sing as a duo more often instead of them switching to individual solos on separate tracks.
‘Give Up’ is delivered by Steve in his ‘give it everything’ fashion as he rattles through in a sort of Jack White style as the backing builds up from the midpoint to a full on crescendo. The sort of BRS song that we are well used to now.
‘Sucker’ gives Laura-May the chance to demonstrate her ability to effortlessly deliver a rock track in a style where she is so comfortable with an infectious backing. She is to the fore again on ‘Begging’ but on a much softer sound – totally different approach on the two tracks to make the listener appreciate her dexterity in delivery.
I suppose the plan to get a ‘darker/more somber’ feel does prove beneficial but not to the extent that it would put off fans of the duo for the last ten years or so. Blood Red Shoes gigs are generally noisy and with a touch of mayhem and the forthcoming tour will no doubt be well supported as fans get their first chance to see them for a few years.
The final track, Four Two Seven, is (to me) similar to some XX tracks and their electro touch but Steve is very much at ease on a track that would be a perfect choice to close a live set – bouncy, a steady build up and the band at their best.
The sort of track I wouldn’t have expected on their earlier albums from them and definitely a deliberate change after the Get Tragic album.
The band admit this is deliberately a release with a much darker feel than their previous offerings; and it certainly worked for me BUT it’s fair to say that I have listened to the album three times now with each hearing I have picked up on minor aspects I had missed out previously.
Did I enjoy it?
Absolutely and despite the changes in emphasis I’m pretty sure most fans will concur.
Absolutely but it will go down well on the imminent tour.
Unfortunately, I have just seen their Press statement to regrettably cancel/suspend the forthcoming tour due to continuing concerns over Covid etc. 
The best laid plans!
A major disappointment to both fans and the duo.

Review by the Original Rocking Magpie ….. Bill Redhead.
Released January 14th 2022


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