Good Shoes

This is a great album. Itís a long time since Iíve heard a debut this good. In fact scratch that: itís been a long time since Iíve heard an album this good. Iíve had it on heavy rotation on my mp3 player all week & my enjoyment of it hasnít waned at all.

I was hooked right from the opening bars of the first track Nazanin: a wood block played a high tempo; two trebly guitars playing in different stereo channels, only a few notes at first, then a few more, slowly adding to a staccato riff built jointly between them. After the bass and drum track kicks in, the track drives on for another minute or so of infectiously spiky guitar-based pop, before itís over all too soon. Itís a sublime introduction to the album and to the band.

The themes of the songs that follow are fairly typical fare for a young guitar band Ė arrogance as a salve for teenage insecurity, relationship break-ups, suburban boredom and frustration Ė but Good Shoes manage to make it all sound fresh. At points laugh-out-load funny, later poignant and bittersweet, their lyrics recall the beauty and excitement of being young just as much, if not more than, the anxiety. The music is also fantastic: fast, accomplished and catchy, with two guitars bouncing off each other and supported by a really tight rhythm section. They may not appreciate me making comparisons with older bands, but to me they kind of sound like a cross between Violent Femmes and early stuff by The Cure, but with a healthy measure of the world-weary wit of Morrissey.

Itís pop to the core, but in a way that makes you want to dance rather than yawn. It makes me wish I was young again, and simultaneously thankful that Iím not. You need this album. Honestly, you do.