As stories behind albums go, the tales that helped create Blood Red Shoes‘s fifth effort, ‘Get Tragic’ are quite something. From a breakdown in communication that led the duo to completely cut ties with one another for a short period of time, vocalist/guitarist Laura-Mary Carter responded by moving to LA to party for a few months, and where she crashed also her bike resulting in a broken arm.
Thankfully, ‘Get Tragic’ isn’t just a heap-tonne of great stories – the music backs up the decision to try again, with some truly great tracks.
With Carter having broken her arm during the album’s writing, making her therefore unable to play guitar for a while, you can understand why so much of the record includes an electronic presence right at its core. Straight from opener of ‘Eye To Eye’, a song that’s openly reflective upon the duo’s public division, you get a sense of the sludgy, dark synths that the album deploys so effectively, like a guiding light to the grizzly bass and guitars that ramps up the drive.
That speaks for a vast majority of the record to be honest, with single ‘Mexican Dress’ and closer ‘Elijah’ both showcasing some of the best combinations of boiling, fuzzy riffs with thunderous, rumbling electronic noise.
‘Get Tragic’ swirls together a Chelsea Wolfe meets Royal Blood sound that attempts to pull you in and keep you on the edge of your seat, guessing just what you’re going to hear next. At one point, you’ll be in the indie-electro Everything Everything mode of ‘Bangsar’, and then in the next into the desert-rock-cum-synth-patched riot of ‘Vertigo’. There’s a variation here that’s beyond the Blood Red Shoes many would’ve known before.
Other highlights include the fidgeting melodies of ‘Howl’, which carries a sizzling synth rhythm and one of the more hook-littered choruses the album has to offer, as Carter softly croons “I’ll be waiting on my own / I’ll be waiting dog and bone”. Elsewhere, the scorching, stomping tones of ‘Anxiety’ plays on chugging, fizzy notes, and Alex Turner-like vocals from drummer/vocalist Stephen Ansall, delivering another buzzing little number that’s choc-a-block with groove and with panache to spare.
Despite being very open about their disliking of one another at points during their recent history, both Carter and Ansall have come back together for the better, re-joining forces to create one of Blood Red Shoes‘ best and more challenging albums in years.