by James Fleming
Electronic music took awhile to take hold. But now, in the 21st century, it has an iron grip on our airwaves, screens and tastes.
Switch on the radio, and there’s a plethora of soundalike electropop singers pedalling their snake-oil wares for anyone fool enough to buy.
Occasionally, you’ll find a well crafted tune, a survivor amongst the wreckage, granted. But, you won’t find one like Red Shoes.
Not only have Velvet Kills captured the dark side of love, they made it sexy. A feat originally reserved only for Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds.
Smoke-screened vocals, pulsating electronics, the effect is mesmerising. The beat is there, but it’s not a jackhammer, pounding you into submission. It lures you in with beckoning finger. Today’s tech with yesterday’s sound, a wondrous melding of the present and the classic.
They mine a particular electronic seam unique to the sonic adventurers of the late seventies/ early eighties. And, if this was the late seventies/ early eighties, they wouldn’t stand out half as much.
They would stand out. That guitar weaving in and out of the pulse would separate them from their synth only contemporaries, as it does with their present day peers. However, the only significant change in song structure from the likes of the Eurythmics is the advancement of the technology.
When you hear, say, a Eurythmics song, it’s undoubtedly eighties. Thankfully, Red Shoes doesn’t sound nearly as dated. The strings sound like strings for instance. And the sparse use of percussion means there’s no risk of an artificial sounding drum machine offending one’s ears.
Will this always be the case? Who knows. Maybe in twenty years time Red Shoes will sound as archaic as the worst of that eighties electropop sounds now. But Velvet Kills have done good, for the moment.
Only time will tell, only time will dictate if this is a classic. At the very least it will be a cult gem. Like the musical pioneers of yesterday, Velvet Kills will be treasured by fans of the 2010s.