The clichÃ©d concept of the “difficult second album” has become so outdated that the phrase is now usually employed within reviews to simultaneously be refuted by the contrary evidence on display. It’s possible that a young band’s awareness of the syndrome has resulted in it becoming avoidable, as has been recently displayed on work by the likes of Vampire Weekend, The Horrors and St. Vincent. Unfortunately South London’s Good Shoes haven’t been as astute in recognising the symptoms and have chased-up their sparky debut ‘Think Before You Speak’ with this flat and uneventful effort.
The usual yawn-inducing terms of acquittal for such a slump is that a band has their “whole life” to write their first record, but only a few months to complete the successor. Alas, this lame excuse note won’t wash for these lads; they formed three years before their debut, and it’s been three years since. So where have all of the brain-burrowing melodies, witty social commentaries and sprightly riffs gone?
The freneticism of opener ‘The Way My Heart Beats’ sounds some optimistic notes, but the album’s hopeless future becomes evident by the next track. Sounding almost like a lazier Director, ‘Everything You Do’ would seems stingy as a C-side. Meanwhile the flagship single ‘Under Control’ could possibly be a dancefloor hit… if it were pumped up by LCD Soundsystem and hurtled back in time a few years. Most of this album sounds like debris which fell off the back of NME’s mid-00’s bandwagon, remaining unclaimed until now.
Almost entirely devoid of instrumental melodies, it seems as though the music exists solely to give Rhys Jones a platform from which to preach from. Somewhat awkwardly, it doesn’t really sound like he has a whole lot to say, as he proclaims on consequent songs that “the more I want, the less I need” and “the more I want the less I feel it, the more I get the less I need it”. A more selfless frontman might instead be more preoccupied with his listeners’ wants/needs, which would consist of more poppy little gemstones like 2007’s ‘All In My Head’ and ‘We Are Not The Same’.
At some stage on the album, Jones slams something or other as being “needlessly boring”. Sadly, this prompts the compulsion to rudely take his lyrics out of context in order to disappointedly summarise this record.