Blood Red Shoes
Grrrl rock: Like a far more gorgeous yet bizarre White Stripes clone from Brighton, Laura-May Carter and Steve Ansell of Blood Red Shoes are cartwheeling up the charts and performed at Ladyfest…
Like a far more gorgeous yet bizarre White Stripes clone from Brighton, Laura-May Carter and Steve Ansell of Blood Red Shoes are cartwheeling up the charts. Definitely one of the best albums of 2008, Box of Secrets delivered a straight up rock sound with imaginative lyrics and a new formula for catchy riffs. No longer a novelty, with no one to impress, this album does much more than redefine the boy/femme duo – it kicks it up one big, loud notch. This is a female musician truly coming into her own, with a perfect boy-next-door right there with her.
They share the microphone so there are no scared-bunny breathy tracks. They share the stage presence and they certainly share their fan base. Girls can look up to both of them, and boys can appreciate them – vice-versa, like and contrary-wise, the young and old can enjoy this album.
After playing the 2009 ‘All Tomorrows Parties’, people took notice of the amazing raven haired, porcelain skin looks of guitarist Laura-Mary and the dynamic between her and Steven. With the simple hard core of their sound it is not a wonder The Breeders asked for them by name to appear alongside heavyweights such as themselves, Holy F*ck, Shellac, and Bon Iver, where they stacked up nicely.
Formed in 2005 after being in separate bands then jamming together, they have since participated in free gigs, fundraising and the popular community based not-for profit festival, Ladyfest.
In conversation with Berlin’s nuflicks, an internet based interview magazine, they speak of making music. They also speak of watching music, loving music; devouring music… they really eat sleep drink and breathe their craft. They share that litmus test of those who truly love music: they like everything – so long as it’s good.
A drummer that can sing is always a special talent. Seeing that trick live at a punk show is a treat, and Steven does it with gusto. Not only is he brimming with talent, he has that boyish look that has become so popular. Think Nick and Norah’s Infinite Soundtrack and you have the picture. Soft spoken and perhaps fragile (he is reportedly getting over the stage fright that would leave him vomiting from nerves) his charm is juxtaposed with enormous strength behind the kit. Manchester beats and pure rock fuelled pounding blend wonderfully with his slight blonde look.
What power he possesses with drumming is mirrored beautifully in his friend and band mate Laura-Mary Carter. Front-woman may be a strong word when used to describe the lithe and sexy counterpart of a duo, but she is a force in audio all her own. Her Telecasters take a beating, recalling such heavy bottomed riffs you have heard in the Breeders, White Stripes and Louis XIV. A newer addition to her arsenal of cross-cultural Fenders and Ernie Balls is a unique custom guitar named ‘Springtime’. This unique 7 string guitar features a bass string, wound, and unwound strings. It was given to her as a gift by its creator Yuri Landman.
None of the songs on the current album feature this unique instrument, but fans do look forward to the next album for this big sound. Extra strings will mesh well with their already heavy tunes. If lilting lyrics are more your speed, she has that too. Clear and strong, her voice compliments the range of her guitar work. When they share the vocals, she weaves into her band mates voice as they sound remarkable similar, innocently flirting with androgyny. She also has a full roster of backup singing, as said before they do share the microphone, and their voices blend wonderfully.
Sure, the minimalist techniques of their videos are suggestive of another dapper duo, but honestly what more do you need to do when you have the look and the sound? Uncomplicated videos are the best way to showcase the simple wit of their songs.
Stand-out tracks include the fan favourite It’s Getting Boring by the Sea which gives a great example of their playful vocals. Another great track, You Bring Me Down, is punchy and full of sing-along chants that prove irresistible. While some songs do blend into one another, the album does hold up to repeat spins. Like any well crafted offering, this will sound just as good next year as it does now. With only very few exceptions the lyrics are great for a general audience, which should lend well to radio airplay.
New songs are appearing on their MySpace. Being anxious to hear and see more from this up and coming duo will be a hand-wringing wait no matter how quickly new material comes out! Check them out at
Buy Box of Secrets