A slice of dark seduction always goes down a treat especially when brought with an imaginative smile and psyche haunting radiance. A healthy dose of rhythmic drama and melodic revelry similarly has ears and imagination more often than not seriously enthused within that kind of sultry landscape. It is a delicious mix which leaves us generally hosting a keen appreciation for its source, and in the shape of the self-titled EP from US band Murder Shoes, an especially lustful one. The five track encounter from the Minneapolis quintet is an intoxicating temptation of surf, alternative, and indie rock ‘n’ roll, a sound basking in the smouldering essences of each whilst creating its own individual inescapable seducing.
The seeds of Murder Shoes begin with the meeting of guitarists Chris White and Derek Van Gieson, seemingly at a bar where one worked and the other frequented. Conversations about music led to the pair uniting as songwriters, with a torrent of songs emerging from their complimenting ideations. A new potent factor emerged when vocalist/keyboardist Tess Weinberg was brought into the mix, followed by another spark of dynamics when drummer Elliot Manthey and bassist Tim Heinlein completed the line-up. With everything in place Murder Shoes stepped into the light and released the low key three-track Cash On Fire EP last December. It was just an appetiser for major things, a more than decent toe tester in creative waters, but in hindsight now blown totally aside by the might of the band’s new offering on Land Ski Records.
The adventure begins with Charlotte Manning and an opening temptation of sultrily toned guitar strokes aligned to smaller nibbles of their strings on ears. Van Gieson and White swiftly grip the imagination before the siren-esque lure of Weinberg begins her vocal caresses to intensify its involvement. It is a magnetic entrance but soon finding new levels of persuasion with the darker spicing brought by the throaty bass and more fiery hues to the guitar enterprise. A surf rock seducing by this time is just as fruitfully lighting body and thoughts, it all driven by the respectful and increasingly anthemic endeavour of Manthey. Like that packet of your favourite candy where good intentions in having just one becomes two, then another and subsequently the whole thing, such is the power of the song, every minute left alone listen, leaving an insatiable want for more.
And so it is with the following Maybe You Can, and the whole EP to admit the truth. It is another song rampantly persuasive and in control of the senses from its first singular guitar baiting of ears. That lone lure is soon bulging with a feisty march of beats and wrapped in fresh swarthy kisses of guitar as Weinberg produces more of her warm vocal enticing. There is a feel of The Capsules to the melodic and smouldering aspects of Murder Shoes songs whilst the unpredictable twists and invention within the encounter is like a blend of Chick Quest and Two Wounded Birds. The track continues to masterfully impose and enthral before making way for the fiery Under the Sea. You can almost feel the hot tingle of sand between toes as the surf pop persuasion dances with ears and emotions. Its sixties breath adds to the compelling character and sound of the song whilst mini crescendos even in their brief moments just breed a catchy drama to the glorious pop flirtation.
The following Sea a Little Louder brings another embrace of mellower energy but again without losing any of the gripping invention and melodic poetry of its predecessors. It is too bubbly to be classed as a piece of balladry but similarly with its alluring restraint far from being an incitement of intensive activity, a mesmeric croon the apt description for the song’s atmospheric and creative hug. It is easy to drift away with the breezy temptation, even its muscular rhythm saunter and the little bursts of climatic endeavour only empowering its immersive qualities.
Final track In Your Bed Or On a Train has limbs back in a frenzy and emotions fired up with its fusion of old school rock ‘n’ roll, sweltering surf ambience, and indie rock unpredictability. Think a modern day Wanda Jackson fronting a Morningwood type proposition and you sense why the EP’s closing offering is so irresistible. Rolling beats from Manthey again provide the resourceful and unrelenting wave of rhythmic enslavement which cores most songs whilst guitars and bass spin sticky darkly hued webs of adventure. Shrouded in the almost celestial tones of Weinberg, it is an exhilarating proposition, as the whole EP, and if the flavours we most mentioned, surf, indie etc. bring a lick of the lips, you are looking at potentially your favourite release of the year.
The Murder Shoes EP is available now digitally and on CD via Land Ski Records @ http://murdershoes.bandcamp.com/
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