Sophomore albums can be a tricky thing. Many bands try to up the ante and go for broke as they try to improve their debut’s sound with new studio tricks and elaborate instrumentation that are meant to impress a listener.
The London-based band Good Shoes is not one of those groups though. On the contrary, the foursome of singer Rhys Jones, guitarist Steve Leach, bassist Will Church, and drummer Tom Jones have decided to dial things back on its second release entitled No Hope, No Future.
Unlike 2007’s Think Before You Speak which was full of polished, yet infectious guitar pop songs, No Hope, No Future is a sparser record that tempers down the catchy melodies and bouncy guitar riffs. This decision proves to be a wise one because the ten tracks here are much more darker and cynical, both sonically and lyrically.
One of the best examples of this is the opening track “The Way My Heart Beats” which features jangly guitars and a punkish rhythm which nicely complement Jones bellowing lyrics such as “Try and do the things you want/But you never do them for me.”
That song’s subject matter of relationship woes continues on in later tracks such as the downright glorious “Then She Walks Away.” This track is the album’s standout where Good Shoes peppers its new sound with moments of its past as Leach’s catchy guitar riffs blend in flawlessly with Jones’ wails of “I go then she walks away/Times change but I want you to stay.”
No Hope, No Future isn’t perfect though. The dirge-like “Everything You Do” drags down the whole record and it is hard to get over as it is the second song on the album while “A Thousand Miles An Hour” is so short that it is basically an afterthought.
Still, the Good Shoes’ second release should be considered a success mostly because the band sounds so good despite No Hope, No Future being recorded in a no-frills manner. You can’t even tell that the perfect bass lines in “Do You Remember” and the impressive guitar solos in “Our Loving Mother in a Pink Diamond” were recorded in people’s basements and bedrooms.
In fact, those tracks rock better than many bands’ stuff who spend ten times as much recording their songs and that is why Good Shoes shouldn’t have to worry about its future at time soon.
Review By: Todd Sikorski[Rating: 3.5/5]