Year of the Album — #003
Blood Red Shoes – “Fire Like This”
V2 Records (2009)
Similar Albums: The Hoosiers – “Trick To Life” (RCA, 2007)
The Attorneys – “Stereocracy” (Independent, 2007)
Switches – “Lay Down The Law” (Interscope, 2008)
I downloaded a copy of Blood Red Shoes’ sophomore album a few months ago after reading some really good reviews at Drowned In Sound and Pitchfork. Having taken the chance to give the album a listen after it spent time hiding on my hard-drive, I can understand where those publications were coming from in praising this effort. The music’s catchy, upbeat and full of crushing hooks, pounding percussion and all the British-inspired alterna-rock you could want. The music immediately sounds familiar, which helps it assert itself quickly and assuredly.
Problem is, the music sounds familiar because there’s really nothing new here at all that hasn’t been accomplished better on albums from any number of bands with similar alternative influences. While “Don’t Ask” and “Heartsink” have the sound of potential American singles, the album had to wait more than a year after its British release to even be heard here. I suspect it’s because there’s nothing here to push to radio that hasn’t sounded better from Switches (“Message From Yuz”) or the Hoosiers (“Worried About Ray,” “Goodbye Mr. A”). Even Attorneys’ “Talk About It,” which almost nobody heard, has more punch than most of this album after you’ve repeated it a few times. It all culminates in the unbearably long “Colours Fade,” which goes on and on (more than seven minutes) while not providing enough hook for more than two or three).
That said, Fire Like This is at least a worthy diversion in a slow release period. The band hints at bigger and better things they could come out with if they’d expand beyond their seemingly limited influences to produce something that sounds purely like Blood Red Shoes rather than a mere retread. “It’s Getting Boring By The Sea” got them some notice on the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack, at least pushed their sonic envelope somewhat, but nothing on Fire Like This makes me think the band’s next album’s going to get much of a shot here in the States, despite what Pitchfork might say.