by Thomas Bedward June 16, 2021
When it comes to music, there are some bands that you find and then just can’t shake, no matter the time, distance, or obstacles that might arise. It’s a rare, but brilliant thing, and something that we’ve found time and time again with Somerset’s own Blood Red Rose.
After first surfacing with the release of the debut album in later 2019, the dark indie three-piece have been constantly building and refining their sound, breathing new life into a timeless genre and creating a defiant wall of sound from driven electric guitars, heavy hooks, and thunderous drums. With ‘Reflection’, Blood Red Rose delivered a sporadic, free-flowing anthology that revelled in a free-spirited and truly universal ethos, but now, with the release of their sophomore record, they’ve thrown caution to the wind and doubled down on the stark experimental vibes and deep, personal moments.
Titled ‘This One’s For You’, the new album is the sound of the band growing more confident in their abilities, taking charge of their influences and creating something that could very well stand the test of time. A raw ten-track release, and a touching dedication to a fallen friend, ‘This One’s For You’, opens with ‘The Game’, a lavish, defiant piece that makes its mark instantly with a defiant guitar riff and waves of tempered drums. Ringing with the nostalgic sounds of Primal Scream and The Cure, ‘The Game’ is a gateway to Blood Red Roses’ dark, kaleidoscopic world, and as the band reach their peak, vocalist Paul calls out to the world, lamenting over how ‘the rules have changed halfway through the game’.
Capitalising on the freedom of their debut record, second cut ‘Anybody Out There’ maintains the emotional weight of ‘The Game’, but musically it shifts the focus to more ambient, almost choirlike chants that call out in a soothing refrain, while the band push forward with scattered alt-rock vibes and rough post-punk energy. Filled with shades of isolation and a desire to recapture lost moments, it’s a song that speaks from the heart and creates an enduring highlight for the band. As the album continues, ‘Butterflies’ surprises everyone with an upbeat, classic rock aesthetic, plenty of energy, and some true country style. Filled with a minimalist production that helps create a dynamic live feel, it's an untapered look into the world that Blood Red Rose exists in.
Breaking away, the band treat us all to some more joyous, vintage rock vibes with ‘Run Away’, a track that lives in the interplay between Paul’s vocals and the murky instrumental undercurrents that Kim and Luke and stitched together. Mixed with lucid, shifting productions and riffs pulled from the glory days of ‘90s rock, ‘Run Away’ is a powerful single perfectly encapsulates the strengths of the album. Paired brilliantly with ‘Platinum Flowers’, the two tracks offer a one-two hit of heavy, enduring sounds, with the latter track providing some stellar, bass-heavy anthemics. A grunge-filled piece that blends shoegazes cuts with gritty rock ‘n’ roll sounds, its unyielding, ensnaring, and wonderfully familiar.
As the second half of the album arrives, Blood Red Rose takes us back to the upbeat indie rock that first made them, offering up poignant, reflective, even hopeful lyrics, while ‘Ghosts’ takes things to a whole never level, dominating all known soundscapes with a heavy spoke of rock ‘n’ roll action. In true form, ‘Ghosts’ has everything it needs to entertain, including heavy guitar riffs, calling vocals, and quickstep percussion that builds to a cataclysmic end. It’s hard not to be impressed, but the band have more instore, including familiar shades of rock classics in ‘It Don’t Matter’, and a surprisingly mellow and emotive piece in ‘The Witness’. A deceptively nuanced track, ‘The Witness’ flows with a deep, droning sound and sweeping focus, holding firm with an intoxicating, eclectic energy, and a heartfelt acoustic sound that lingers perfectly.
In the end, though, it’s all about the closing number, and ‘Find Our Way’ was a perfect choice. A track that leaves a definite impression, ‘Find Our Way’ breaks the mould and creates something bold and original, shaking up everything from the instrumentation and sound to Paul‘s vocals, and the overall production. A rich, kaleidoscopic journey that wanders through a shifting roster of styles and sounds, it’s call outs with lyrics like, “we’ll never be afraid, we’ll never be the same until we find our way”, before ultimately ending with a final tribute to Robert Rose and deafening fade to silence.
While ‘Reflections’ proved the band could create some truly impressive DIY songs, ‘This One’s For You’ showcases their more emotive and empathetic side, blending their stark, sometimes abstract sounds with real human emotions and plenty of relatable moments. An album that they can be infinitely proud of, ‘This One’s For You’ is a journey worth taking, and an album worth experiencing.
Along with the release of the new album, Blood Red Rose have also revealed another touching dedication to Robert Rose in the form of ‘Slither’, a cover of Velvet Revolver’s classic that they recorded with him while known as Kill The Messenger’.
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