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Good Shoes - No Hope, No Future

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Artist: Good Shoes

Album: No Hope, No Future

Label: Brille

Review date: Jan. 22, 2010

Good Shoes’ second album, No Hope, No Future, is not so very different from its first one, except that some of the air seems to have been let out of the tires. Like Think Before You Speak, it’s built on a C86-ish foundation of staccato guitar, yelped romantic confessions and pogo-bobbing rhythms. Sweaty, anxious, frustrated and still rather sweet, the first album caught late adolescence in a strobelight flash, a dead end home town (“Morden”), spats with girlfriends (“We Are Not the Same”), urges to escape (“Small Town Girl”).

Now, three years gone from bleak Morden, after tours with Maximo Park and the Kaiser Chiefs, the Good Shoes seem older, more exhausted and with a tendency to cynicism. Even the best songs on this second full-length sound vaguely deflated. “The Way My Heart Beats” jangles and pulses, but it’s half a step less manic than last album’s “Nazanin.” “Under Control” adds an interesting texture of disco bass, but ends up sounding arch and mannered. And “Everything You Do” drones on for what seems like forever, utterly lifeless with ennui. It’s only when you check the tracks that you realize it’s only three and a half minutes long.

It’s as if the band remembers what they did the last time, but not why. The nervy energy has been siphoned off, and in its place a seen-it-all sophistication. Closing track “City By the Sea” borrows a bit of the melody from Think Before You Speak‘s “In the City,” tamps down the rhythmic tension and reimagines the song as a romantic crooner. It’s not bad, exactly, just extremely subdued. It sounds like the Good Shoes are tired and mildly sick of it all – and unfortunately, it’s catching.

By Jennifer Kelly

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