Monday, 25 January 2010

Good Shoes - No Hope, No Future

Morning lovers, here is a little review of Good Shoes second album 'No Hope, No Future' which I wrote for Gigwise, also to be found here

good shoes no hope no future

Good Shoes sophomore effort ‘No Hope, No Future’ could be classed as more mature than their debut ‘Think Before You Speak’. Sadly, it could also be classed as less outstanding.

Where there used to be jingly-jangly guitar vitality and imaginatively quirky story-telling, there is now platitudinous wailing and attempts at the angular. ‘Our Loving Mother in a Pink Diamond’ is conceived to be a prog-epic with never-ending frenzied guitar solos and quite frankly why Good Shoes, who are best at snappy lyrics and staccato riffs, would want to do a Pink Floyd is beyond my understanding. Their slowest (and possibly dullest) song ‘Everything You Do’ doesn’t showcase what Good Shoes are best at: vigour and rhythm. Sadly, ‘No Hope, No Future’ doesn’t live up to the promise of the initially released and immensely catchy singles ‘The Way My Heart Beats’ and ‘Under Control’. The former is a heavier proposition than anything on ‘Think Before You Speak’ which nonetheless perfectly balances melody with frenetic riffs and urgency.

‘Under Control’, a single so full of frantic pleading and off-beat drumming it seems to either implode or explode any second, is bursting with dynamic tempo-changes and Rhys’ distinctive atonal singing. A further highlight of their second long-player and a much-needed reminder why we love Good Shoes is album closer ‘City By The Sea’, which is a charmingly fragile gem reminiscent of pre-depression wide-eyed teenage Good Shoes, whose life was based around getting drunk and subsequently getting laid in Morden. However, for the rest of the tracks on ‘No Hope, No Future’ Good Shoes have veiled their upbeat pop in disillusionment and despair, more unfavourably they have also exchanged their signature chirpy pop for distorted layers of guitar-obtrusion. Having struggled through a majority of rather disappointing ‘more filler than killer’ tracks, one comes to the disheartening conclusion that ‘No Hope, No Future’ is a testament to Good Shoes growing up and realising there is a more menacing world outside of Morden’s suburban bubble, which is reflected in an album full of mournful monotony, political platitudes and disenchanted droning.

Their press release is trying to sell this ‘new sound’ as “emotive rawness” with a distinct “punk ethos” when all it really comes down to is that Good Shoes have lost their spark somehow. The melodies have gone as has the charming quality of the lyrics and all that’s left to hope is that Good Shoes still have a future after releasing this lacklustre sophomore effort.

Laters, Linda x

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