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With the new album arrived from Red Shoes, response here ranged from: “At long last, it’s been a long wait” to “Hopefully not a hidden message.” Our reactions aside, ‘It Isn’t Over Yet’ from Red Shoes may be more prosaically summed up as ‘… among the very best albums we’ve heard this year’ … simple as that.
So what do you get? A double album that reflects both their presence as a full-blown band Red Shoes – It Isnt Over Yetwith some seriously powerful ‘friends’ involved plus the stripped-back sound of Carolyn and Mark Evans as a duo. Whichever route you take, band or duo, they’re delivering supremely emotive songs. The ‘voice’ is still there … utterly involving and intensely affecting … Carolyn’s vocals have long given Red Shoes a unique presence, and nothing changes. There’s also their ability to craft memorable melodies that quite simply reach out and touch that part of your soul where feeling lives … whenever you listen to Red Shoes, be prepared to experience the poignant and the tender.
The ‘band’ CD entitled ‘Act One’ opens with the reflective swing of ‘Salters Screen’ a song inspired by a cinema and featuring Joe Brown on dobro and backing vocals, ‘Dust In The Hallway’ adds a mournful country tinge, while the painful sentiment of ‘Hostile Place’ cataloguing a break-up hits hard … an experience to make you weep. They move into a classic Red Shoes offering with ‘It Isn’t Over Yet’, before the quintessence of ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ carries its powerful message. Their ‘duo’ CD ‘Act Two’ begins with the deeply meaningful ‘Floorspot Annie’ as you’re swept into the narrative by Carolyn’s vocals, the expressive story of ‘Six Boats’ with Mark leading on vocal, their potent, challenging and haunting rewrite of ‘Reynardine’ and to finish, the beautiful ‘Martha’s Song’.
‘Act One’ of ‘It Isn’t Over Yet’ includes Carolyn Evans (vocals, backing vocals) Mark Evans (vocals, acoustic guitars) Nigel King (acoustic guitars, electric guitars, backing vocals) Rob Mason (drums, percussion) Dave Pegg (bass, mandolin, bass, ukulele) Ric Sanders (violin) with special guset Joe Brown (dobro, backing vocals), while the ‘Act Two’ features Carolyn, Mark and Nigel King … doing exactly what they do best with unerring skill.