Renowned for their simmering on-stage tension, Brighton duo Blood Red Shoes have always felt like the kind of band who could implode at any minute. So it comes as something of a surprise how harmonious their third studio album, In Time to Voices, sounds. Indeed, other than the quick burst of abrasive scream-punk on "Je Me Perds," there's little here that reflects Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell's recent confessions of in-fighting during its recording. "Night Light" is the kind of winsome acoustic fare you'd expect to hear around a campfire; the enchanting harmonies on the lo-fi grunge of "Two Dead Minutes" could be mistaken for the Magic Numbers, while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-esque lead single "Cold" is arguably the most danceable song they've ever had. Foals producer Mike Crossey may remain the only real constant from their more ferocious first two albums, but that's not to say they've lost their edge. The title track lives up to their "most ambitious record" claims as it ventures into brooding Americana before slowly building into an unsettling garage-rock crescendo: "Lost Kids" is a stinging slice of scuzz-rock inspired by the London riots; while "Stop Kicking" appears to take its cue from the early-'90s shoegaze scene with its slightly disorienting layers of distortion and shimmering riffs. The sluggish alt rock of "Down Here in the Dark" and the forgettable new wave of "7 Years" means In Time to Voices finishes with a whimper rather than the bang it deserves. But if such an otherwise emphatic and melodic record is the result of such constant squabbling, then Blood Red Shoes should perhaps start planning their arguments in advance for album number four.
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Review by Jon O'Brien