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Blood Red Rose – ‘Born to Lose’

by Thomas Bedward October 08, 2022

Blood Red Rose – ‘Born to Lose’

A band who are quietly becoming one of the most prolific alt-rock acts of the last few years, Blood Red Rose are back with their fifth album since 2020, lashing out with another heavy dose of free-flowing energy that refuses to settle and constantly pushes for something new.

Titled ‘Born to Lose’, the new album follows a string of impressive singles from the talented trio of Paul Stiling, Kim Kendall, and Luke Hiscock, and just like the four albums that preceded it, it’s an album of timeless indie rock sounds, expressive courage, and unmistakable depth. As with most of their releases, the band have let the record speak for itself, releasing it a few days ago with minimal fanfare and only the barest of information.

Diving in, ‘Born to Lose’ is unmistakably a Blood Red Rose album, cutting you to the quick with the opening track ‘When We Were Young’. A simple, but evocative piece, one that shines through sonically driven guitars and a more accessible rock sound. Arguably the band’s most pop-inspired opener, it’s delightfully drowned in 80’s-tinged nostalgia and throwbacks to better times. Throughout the album, even in the early stages, there are hints towards Paul experimental songwriting style, with each song drifting between thoughts, moments, and inspirations.

On ‘Sign of Life’, the band revel in shimmering guitar chords that build around a central message of “you don’t have to think twice, time is slipping away”, before the familiar tones of ‘Marked Forever’ arrive. It’s a wonderful pairing, and it creates an important moment in the album. In ‘The Ocean’, the band deliver some early Morrissey vibes, conjuring up ‘Viva Hate’ aesthetics and light-dark contrasts that meld work poetic imagery, calling vocals, and tantalising sounds. Next, is ‘Hey God’, a true highlight of the album that kicks with stark, guitar-heavy anthemics that hint at The Verve’s early albums and captures a more caustic shoegaze sound. In the closing tracks, there’s a brilliant cacophony of bold grunge overtones and rousing rock inspirations, shaping each track from gruff, animalistic sounds and overcast indie vibes.

Ever since their debut album, Blood Red Rose have constantly pushed boundaries, and on ‘Born to Lose’, they’ve managed to maintain their originality, while also becoming more accessible. An album that balances the dark, brooding, and somewhat tempestuous style with polished, emotive refrains, it’s engaging, distinctive, and filled with passion.

Score: 8/10

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