Live: "I Love You". Blood Red Shoes, Heaven.

On a pitch-black night, against a blood red backdrop, before the glare of static-spewing receivers it's the ungodly raucous of Brighton's Blood Red Shoes that enlightens Heaven. If the pairing that came together down beside the seaside and comprises Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell prove drivingly persistent, consistently decent and perhaps a touch formulaic on record then it's undoubtedly the gut-bust gusto they hock up and spit at live endeavours that equates to them being somewhat set apart from their uncountable contemporaries. In defence of the aforesaid formula, limitations on just guitars and drums are of course intrinsic and certainly a palpable lack of letup tonight attests to the relentlessness of their every effort yet the onstage equilibrium of Ansell's irrepressible enthusiasm and Carter's gently disconcerting absenteeism ensures they remain exceedingly watchable. Musically, well, they hurl the figurative kitchen sink at this one, and theirs is a hunk of kitchenware clogged with gritty brilliance and a jaw-full of viscous sanguine stuff.
As they emerge, an overzealous "bloke" promptly gurgles a clumsy: "I love you". Comedic pause ensues, before he splutters: "Not you; the drummer." Carter may be the siren-like figure that attracts your average swaying landlubber to an uncertain end on the barrier before her, and indeed her honeyed, runny vocals may not appear an immediate fit with the grungy clunk the pair peddle. However objectify and/ or neglect at your own foolhardy insolence for when she bares those immaculate pearly whites – as when they unleash unholy closer Je Me Perds or yelp in synchronicity to an electrifying Light it Up – her onstage character is as oddly symbiotic as the band in essence oft seem themselves. As for the remainder, she glowers from behind a waft of pristine lock; cowers in between-song shadow, enshrouded in a muted mystery. Intermittently she approaches Antsell's setup stage-left, seeking creative spark or perhaps solace from the glare of both spotlight and the salacious few.

For much ado has been made of late with reference to the positioning of the female gender within a contemporary consciousness musical and, sexist, misogynistic or whatever else certain opinions may indubitably be, 'rock music' is, rather lamentably, a genre composition revered as one reserved for those brawny of bicep and ludicrously bolshy of demeanour. Carter is neither yet she and Ansell can cut it with anyone you'd care to snip out of any Kerrang index as sheared of bravado, parody and pastiche they've in many respects become the consummate 'rock band'.
From the rudimentary joys of It's Getting Boring By The Sea, Ansell's drums bludgeoning; its chorus imbued with a perceptibly vitriolic boredom that borders on bloodthirsty to the artillery-like whiplash of Don't Ask, theirs is an arsenal now stocked with a terrifying potency. Intriguingly and perhaps unexpectedly however, tonight may be forever demarcated as the eve upon which Fire Like This material turned incendiary: the desperate pleas of "everybody out of here" on It is Happening Again resound with a greater urgency than any school fire drill ever did; Heartsink is equally hasty whilst as satisfactorily leaden as indiscernible alimentation round any old Hastings nursing home; When We Wake comes across as ultimately seductive both in its proffering of momentary respite and in its sheer resplendence. They inevitably touch upon latest LP In Time To Voices too, cunningly plucking out highlights immediate in every sense Lost Kids; Cold; the title track, yet their light dispersion guarantees they're never afforded appropriations to any sort of domination.

In many respects through unremitting batter; through casting wave upon wave of twitchy anthemia laced with propensities post-punk Blood Red Shoes have expertly crafted the sort of show they can fearlessly trudge across town to Shepherd's Bush Empire and to ever expanding venues beyond. And although it's only just gone ten by the time they flee from sight – as Ansell puts it Heaven's having another "gay porn night" – it's been a wondrously ravaging, no-holds-barred early evening onslaught. For Carter and Ansell have tottered myriad allegorical miles from the humble shingle of home and in times requiring a rethink that is both progressive and positive with regard to how we perceive our entertainers our largely patriarchal stance could do with catching up in order that the occasionally nasty yet totally necessary debate aforementioned may soon fade into irrelevance, along with any gender-based societal distinctions.
"These boots are made for walkin'/ And that's just what they'll do/ One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you."