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Whenever I spin a new Blood Red Shoes record for the first time, ever since that first play of their phenomenal debut album Box of Secrets, the same thought enters my mind every single time; how can just two people make this much noise? Even seeing them live and seeing them actually thrash the shit out of those drums and ruin eardrums with those riffs with your own eyes, which it was pretty easy to do since they never seemed to stop touring until they took a break last year to pop over to Berlin to record this self-titled fourth album, it still felt that what they were doing was almost magical. Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell always seemed to play things fast and loose with great results. Take 'Je Me Perds' from their last album, 2012's In Time To Voices. It was crunchy, punchy, and fast. Clocking in at just under a minute and a half, it had that exciting get-in-get-out, smash some faces mentality that made Death From Above 1979 so exciting.

But whereas In Time To Voices did have some absolutely stellar tracks such as 'Je Me Perds', it didn't feel like them. They'd thrown away that fast and loose experimentation, tracks that sounded so raw it was almost as though we were at a Blood Red Shoes gig not sat on the bus in a traffic jam, to try a more detailed and complex approach to making an album instead. In trying to create songs they could only dream of, it felt like they were limiting themselves; you could just hear the old Blood Red Shoes trying to kick the door down to no avail. It's not a bad album, by any means, but when you have to live up to what is probably one of the most riotous and, even today, freshest debut albums, it falls shorts.

Which is why Blood Red Shoes is so damn exciting. From the second that opening riff thrashes its way through your speakers in album opener 'Welcome Home', you can just tell this is an album that is easily going to stand with its head held high, chest out, not giving a fuck. 'Welcome Home' is two minutes of pure, unadulterated rock bliss. An aggressive, in-your-face instrumental, it feels like their manifesto, "here's what we're about, put up or shut up". As it works its way into 'Everything All At Once', with Ansell's driving drum beat and howling chorus, it feels as though the floodgates that held back the aggression on In Time To Voices have well and truly opened. 'An Animal' only further proves this, with Laura- Mary Carter's deliciously addictive riff that buzzes with real intensity sounding the battle cry.

Though Ansell seems to get more vocal time on this record than normal, the real shining moments come from the almost menacingly captivating vocals of Laura-Mary Carter. It's a specific style that only she and The Kills' Alison Mosshart can really get on point, that brooding feel full of alluring mystery like a smoky bar. 'Grey Smoke' is the first indicator that it's back in full-force, slinking around the track with a real malevolent feel. 'The Perfect Mess', a real album highlight, utilises that back-and-forth roaring between Ansell and Carter that made those early tracks so wonderful; all wrapped up in a fantastic screeching guitar riff and some real drum destruction.

When they finally decide to turn things down a little, they still manage to nail that intense tone that permeates the whole album, as opposed to feeling displaced as on previous albums. 'Stranger' is a real moody affair, retaining that dark and brooding feeling just without the ear splitting riffs and drum fills. 'Cigarettes In The Dark' slows things down a bit, with more of a stomping guitar as opposed to the blistering speed seen on 'An Animal', but again still has that dark malevolence keeping you on the edge as though it might rocket forward at any second.

Blood Red Shoes is the band going back to what they know best, but with a more wisened approach. The experience of creating In Time To Voices is evident here but, mixed with that fast-and-loose feel of Box of Secrets, it sounds like a record that really gets to the heart of what Blood Red Shoes are all about. It's unabashed, unrepentant, contemplative when it needs to be, volcanically in-your-face the rest of the time. It doesn't feel forced; the product of a band that finally feels as though they've nailed exactly what they want to do. Most of all, it's just a tonne of fun displaying why Blood Red Shoes are unmatched on the live scene.