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- Black Vinyl Shoes by Shoes
2 reviews. Add your own review.
Allow me to be self indulgent for a moment, I generally need no excuse but seeing as pretty much MY FAVOURITE ALBUM OF ALL TIME has come into stock, surely I’m allowed just a few lines to wax lyrical. Shoes looked like the Bay City Rollers but were waaaaaay ahead of their time in terms of attitude and their lo-fi production style. They were the first true DIY band producing nuggets of pure pop from their Zion hideaway. They’d already released three ramshackle gems by the time ‘Black Vinyl Shoes’ came along.
Amazingly it was given a proper international release and original pressings had a disclaimer on the back of the record apologising for the sound quality. I bought my copy of this record for a pound in a Blackpool sea-front junk shop back in ‘89 on the advice of my dad who told me to not be put off by the four uncool looking guys on the front and to take a chance. The next day, I got home from school, fired up my dads music centre and immediately fell in love with the record. It has a strange fuzzy sound to it, recorded on 4 track there’s obviously a lot of bouncing down taking place as vocals appear from all kinds of different angles, guitars are generally rocky but eccentric and the drums slipshod at times. But Oh! what tunes. Shoes took the best bits of The Beatles, Big Star, The Raspberries and The Glitter Band to create their own distinct take on power pop.
‘Boys Don’t Lie’ is the greatest album opener ever, I’ve played this song probably a million times yet I never, ever tire of it, the melodies in its oddball structure are superb, yet just as it gets going it fades out leaving you clamouring for more. Elsewhere ‘Writing a Postcard’ and ‘Not Me’ have skyscraping melodies that pre-empt the nascent R.E.M with guitars on full on jangle & strum mode. I’m fully aware that power-pop isn’t the most hip of genres, Shoes didn’t ever really recapture the form they showed here despite several solid albums. This review may be the ranting of a tired & emotional old hack, recalling the glory days of when music first hit him so hard in the gullet that there was no escape. If you buy only one 70’s power-pop album in your lifetime, please let it be this one. And if you want more we also have an album of demo’s to their slightly airbrushed follow up ‘Present Tense’. Right, I’m going for a lie down.
8/10 Penrith Steve Customer review, 20th October 2014
Wow! Someone else has heard of the Shoes and likes them! (Surprised glee rather than arrogance) I think this review is in response to the review by Clinton as much as a review of the album. I probably paid around £14 for this on CD at some point in the 90s, but never mind. And power pop is cool.
A great album though, and I agree with much of what Clinton has said, although I do prefer Big Star. The Raspberries have got a couple of better songs, although this album is way better and way more consistent anything the Raspberries ever did. “Capital Gain” is my favourite song on here, the way the fantastic guitar riff starts slowly and the song gets up to full speed by the time the vocals kick in. “Running Start”, “Boys Don’t Lie” and “Fatal” are other stand-outs. Great power pop, original songs too. More people should give this a go.
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