Sunday, 24 January 2010

Good Shoes - No Hope, No Future (Review for Gobshout)

It’s been almost three years Good Shoes released their debut album Think Before You Speak but the boys from Morden are back with No Hope, No Future and a new bassist in the form of Will Church. Has it been worth waiting since 2007 for this? Or do the bands prospects mirror the title of this release? Well, the good news is it isn’t that bad. The bad news is it isn’t that good.

It starts well the fast tempo, jinking guitars and the bouncing drum beats of the extremely catchy The Way My Heart Beats. The lyrics may be repetitive but they’ll end up stuck in your head. I found myself singing it on multiple occasions when I wasn’t even listening to the track. This bouncy offering is sure to be hit at Indie disco’s across the country. The Way My Heart Beats provides No Hope, No Future with an excellent introduction. Unfortunately Good Shoes don’t reach this peak during any of the other nine tracks on the album.

Everything You Do is a huge contrast to the opener. Rhys Jones’ vocals are slow paced, and lot more down beat –some would say depressing. It’s not a great offering and is unlikely to be what fans at a Good Shoes gig will be chanting for, although ‘I Know’ is bound to be much more popular. It’s a much faster track with a raw, chaotic feel with Jones almost just talking about questioning the truth into the microphone. Unfortunately the lyrics are once again repetitive with the title being repeated again. This is a running theme throughout the entire album and doesn’t signal much in the way of creativity.

The lyrics of Under Control also follow what is repetitive subject throughout No Hope, No FutureGood Shoes there is more to life than the opposite sex! Yes, I know women are a classic, some would say clichéd, subject of rock and roll writing song after song about them leads to the feeling they’re flogging a dead horse. – Girls. Now we, well the guys (and some girls) like the ladies but seriously, That said Under Control is one of the better track offerings, with Church’s toe tapping bass guitar riff providing a solid backbone. There’s arguably a thinly veiled Arctic Monkeys influence here.

The upbeat tempo continues with Do You Remember which features some impressive guitar work from Steve Leach. It’s a shame the vocals don’t seem to quite fit with the scraping sounds of the guitars. The best part of this track is the instrumental towards the end because the vaguely punkish vocals just won’t work that well overall on this one.

Our Loving Mother in a Pink Diamond continues with the some more impressive guitar work during the introduction. However, that’s the main highlight of this one as there isn’t much character in the track. The lack of a defined ‘style’ throughout this album is also an issue. Unless you were very familiar with the band, I don’t think you could catch anything from No Hope, No Future on the radio and immediately thing ‘That’s Good Shoes’ like you could with say, Kaiser Chiefs or The Futureheads.

...Or Maximo Park who appear to be an influence of Times Change’which is another song with raw vocals, a long introduction and what is arguably another song about girls. That said the guitars are bouncy and you’ll definitely be tapping your feet along to Thomas Jones’ drums. (No not THAT Tom Jones) Good Shoes are definitely at their best when they’re playing fast tempo music, which A Thousand Miles An Hour unexpectedly isn’t. There isn’t much to say about this one, it’s short and once again the lyrics are repetitive.

Then She Walks By is about...well you can guess can’t you? You need some different subjects for the songs guys. The track is actually ok, with a lo-fi vocal style and some screeching guitars but once again doesn’t feature a distinct ‘style’.

The closing track of No Hope, No Future is City By The Sea which is much more melancholy and melodic than anything else on the album. It’s arguably the soppy romantic outro...and it’s about girls again! Guys, when you produce your next album please try to be more creative!

Overall Good Shoes second album is rather average. There are a few good tracks with The Way My Heart Beats being the obvious example but this album won’t exactly get the four piece a massive break through, especially at only just over thirty minutes long. Call me only fashioned and out of touch with the ‘iPod generation’ but I like my albums to have a significant length to them. Paying up to £10 for just half an hour of music doesn’t strike me as a good deal. So has it been worth the three year wait for No Hope, No Future? Probably not, but with their strong cult following its likely Good Shoes do perhaps have some hope, some future and maybe it’ll be third time lucky with their next album. They probably shouldn’t wait until 2013 to release that mind.

(Originally written for Gobshout)

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