Red Love Album Review
Released October 1, 2016
Genre: Shoegaze, Post Punk, Noise Rock, Alternative Rock, New Wave
Red Love is a new duo composed of Matt Tong (Bloc Party, Algiers) and Alex Newport (producer: At The Drive In, The Mars Volta); the project finds the two toying with a wide array of genres ranging from shoegaze to new wave. While the sound rarely changes up this apparent exercise in style sounds like a passion project of some sorts, seemingly reaching for that next step. “Gone Tomorrow” juxtaposes piercing guitar tone with reverbed vocals while the following track “Wish I Was Here” trades the hazy guitars for a more ambient-centric track with a twangy acoustic guitar over more direct vocals this time around; surprisingly enough, a few guitar solos here twang with a psychedelic vibe.
Now this blend of styles leaves a lot to be desired, for its tone is left a bit flat throughout the record. When the album’s punchier moments kick in, it feels filtered and clean, never really grinding its teeth to its full potential. It’s perhaps one of the cleanest approaches to shoegaze I’ve heard this year – and that can be taken in a positive or negative tone. Positive in a sense that it rarely dips into the beautifully chaotic depths of shoegaze, however those depths are what most people want. Red Love, however, insert a few serene tracks but they don’t help pace the album at all. Take “Down to Dust,” for instance; the track stays particularly tame right in the middle of the record and simply makes you long for the chaotic mess of distortion.
“I Know A Place To…” nearly reaches that level of chaos luckily, while “Float” evokes Turn On The Bright Light-era Interpol – full emulation. “Fully Reassured,” the longest track here, closes with a pummeling outro that is perhaps the most captivating moment on this record. “I’m Amazed” evokes Souvlaki-era Slowdive closing the record off on a serene note. It’s hard to find anything else here, and hopefully this album is more of a sample than an actual record. While many moments are left unmemorable, there are a few tracks here that showcase how far this record could’ve gone. If anything, that’s a sign to hope for another release from Red Love – one that can be more consistent with its passion and less preoccupied with setting the tone.
FAV TRACKS: Sure As Day, Fully Reassured
LEAST FAV TRACK: Down To Dust