Jul 2012 22

Red Painted Red - I Am NothingRed Painted Red
Category: Alternative / Darkwave
Album: I Am Nothing
Stars: 3
Blurb: An album of great sensibility that’s not afraid of scaring off its own potential audience with the layered, dense craftsmanship and impenetrable content.


The term alternative in contemporary music is as idiosyncratic as it is indicative of a very specific kind of experience, one that seems to escape straightforward definitions and yet, precisely because of this, can be easily identified. UK based Red Painted Red is an embodiment of this tradition and their self-released album I Am Nothing is filled with an intense mixture of trip-hop, darkwave, and noise, appropriately enlivened by a dramatic female vocal and unashamedly amplified through the use of piano and weeping strings. Albeit complex in its description, this melange hits surprisingly familiar notes and when it attempts to diversify, it immediately plummets.

The whole record is tightly wrapped around a uniform stylization and opening “Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap” is a noisy, not quite harmonious track that sets the scene well for the rest of this 40 minute long experience. A multitude of instruments that are furiously thrown together in the course of the track are mingled with the overriding rhythmic vocals to create a feeling of cacophonous randomness. It is not without its charm but it grows tedious, as repeatedly, I Am Nothing fails to find its focus, constantly shifting and twitching within the same free-flowing approach.

“Days to Die from Paracetamol” settles in a slightly more approachable middle ground, somewhere between the determined flow of the song and freedom of experimentation, but most tracks do fail to connect and engage, whether because of the overtly mellow tone (“Safe in Sleep”) that then turns into a heavy, ambient packed arrangement (“God Song”). On all tracks, the vocals appear to be disengaged from the instrumentation, which surely will be to great satisfaction of the 4AD crowd. In fact, I Am Nothing very comfortably settles in the orbit of bands like Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil. However, where those artists were able to transcend the free spirit of their creative zest so that the audience could be immersed in the music that they crafted, Red Painted Red achieves this goal only sporadically. “Misunderstood” is one such composition where balance between the noise and subtle melody is faint but discernible, resulting in a genuinely intriguing and unsettling piece. Given the extent of the success and talent behind I Am Nothing’s thematic predecessors, even those hints of potency can be considered more than a fair modicum of success. Denser, darker, and more gothic in the emotions that it expresses, this album lands in the middle of a wobbling tightrope, between the compelling history of ethereal wave and modern industrial.

Ultimately though, I Am Nothing is incapable of resurrecting the thrill of discovery that albums like Blood or Garlands awakened. Red Painted Red tries to take those emotions one step further, a step that for some will be one too many. And while this bold move renders them courageous and intriguing, they end up delivering an album of strong inconsistencies and even stronger affiliations with more accomplished acts. You might walk away untouched, despite the album’s unquestionable sensibility, as if the music reached through you and beyond you, missing something vital. Whether that would be less complicated, more melodic songwriting or a more focused trajectory of each track, there is a void at the heart of this record and there shouldn’t be.
Track list:

  1. Tap,Tap,Tap,Tap
  2. Days to Die from Paracetamo
  3. Misunderstood
  4. Safe in Sleep
  5. God Song (Fools and Fire)
  6. I Can’t See
  7. Blow
  8. White Space
  9. Wondering How They Fly

Red Painted Red Website http://www.redpaintedred.com
Red Painted Red MySpace http://www.myspace.com/redpaintedred
Red Painted Red Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RedPaintedRed
Red Painted Red SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/redpaintedred
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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