The Internet having long ago squashed the idea of bands incubating and operating in regional-scene bubbles, it's entirely debatable whether there's any such thing as a typical English sound in 2010. If there is, the Brighton-based two-piece known as Blood Red Shoes most certainly doesn't have it.
“Our influences have always been from the States, really,” says singer-guitarist Laura-Mary Carter, on the line from home. “The only English influence I can think of is PJ Harvey, and she's obviously got influences from other places too. So it's been quite difficult to get people to notice us in the U.K., because we don't sound like all the U.K. bands.”
The big problem, evidently, has been that Blood Red Shoes rocks like North America during the Lollapalooza glory years, something that few English bands are able to do convincingly. This left Carter and drummer-singer Steven Ansell on the outside looking in—until recently.
“For ages, we were kind of going around with everyone thinking that we were kind of out-of-date,” Carter says. “People said we kind of sounded like a '90s grunge band. They didn't get us. But what's happening now is that [sound] is kind of coming around again.”
Indeed, in case you haven't been listening to what they're spinning at lululemon lately, the '90s are, like, totally hot right now. And given some of the alt-nation giants that Blood Red Shoes seems majorly indebted to on its second and latest album, Fire Like This, it's put Carter and Ansell in a good place.
“Keeping It Close” blends daydream-nation alternative with sheets of vintage shoegaze, “Heartsink” gives surf-rock a lethal injection of gloomtastic goth, and “Light It Up” sounds like the byproduct of someone working toward a major in classic college rock.
Regardless of who Blood Red Shoes is taking its musical cues from, the world is starting to take notice. High-profile fans include the Breeders' Kim Deal, who made sure Carter and Ansell were on the bill when she curated a 2009 edition of All Tomorrow's Parties. Interest in the band has grown large enough that, following a half-decade of concentrating on playing Europe and Japan, Blood Red Shoes is about to launch its first North American tour.
As for Jolly Olde England, nine years after a pasty-faced duo named the White Stripes first turned the U.K. back onto tribal rock 'n' roll, Carter and Ansell are finding that suddenly there's an appetite at home for acts that are enamoured of the golden years of the alternative nation.
“Music over here has kind of got a bit ”˜parent-friendly',” Carter opines. “I think that's made people miss rock music. I mean, we just got on daytime radio, which is sort of unheard of. I think that's because someone realized that kids really miss music like this.”
Blood Red Shoes plays the Media Club on Tuesday (October 12).