‘I Am Nothing’ is RED PAINTED RED'S first long playing release. The band was formed by Manchester based musicians Yvonne Neve and Simon Carroll, both formerly members of Mantra. The music contained on the nine tracks falls firmly within the Gothic, darkwave, post industrial and death folk categories.
Initially what is most striking about this CD is the care that has gone into the packaging. This is a lovingly crafted item in a handcrafted canvas gatefold CD digipak, along with handwritten lyric copies, and art cards, which had personalised caricatures of the band members on the reverse. Such attention to detail is also reflected in the music, all nine tracks being perfectly layered.
I had not heard of the band prior to receiving this and didn’t know exactly what to expect, but within seconds of putting this on I felt like it was an old friend. There are certain reference points here; I caught traces of Bauhaus, Sisters Of Mercy, Nine Inch Nails, and the icy electronica of both early and very recent Gary Numan. As a result, this came across as a very pleasing listen.
Opening with the marvellous ‘Tap, tap, tap, tap’ with bass, drums, and a guitar line that occasionally sounded like Bauhaus early work, and with Yvonne’s breathy vocals, which went up to a higher pitch on the chorus, this was an excellent introduction to the band. The lyrics are deep and expressive: - “And you may see me over the oceans/ And I’m cut out again now to be broken in a storm/ I’m a rock beneath the waves. Tap, tap, tap, tap on my shell.”
Following on from this is the wonderfully titled ‘Days To Die From Paracetamol’, with an echoing drum beat that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Sisters Of Mercy’s ‘Reptile House’ E.P. Synths and keyboards create a finely woven soundscape that is deep and dark. The lyrics are like a cry for help from someone who is already damned and knows that help will never arrive: -
“And I see the brave, and I hear the fearless/ And I watch them pray, but I’m with the faithless/ And it’s like the sun not rising and it’s like the day is dying/ And every step you take feels like heaven, will you let me go now?”
‘Misunderstood’ rumbles in with a slow but relentless post industrial sledgehammer effect, and some very slight, almost Arabic tinges to the music. The lyrics reflect an icy alienation: - “In the hope of feeling fine, we stand alone/Never seeming to mind where we go or how we feel.”
‘White Space’ is a track that opens with a beat that alternates between the speakers like a fading heartbeat, and is absolutely brilliant. Once again, the lyrics hit their target, the dead and desolate souls: - “Can you hear her? And the waterfall falls, a hundred sighs are heard/ And as the clouds release it all, we can breathe once more. Save me.”
There is a change of tempo regularly throughout the track ‘God Song (Fools and Fire’ which creates an unsettling atmosphere. This track comes across like a prayer from the desperate, seeking something that isn’t there: - “Don’t turn out the light. It’s not my time/ And there’s only fools and there’s only fire.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this CD. Certainly if this lot had been around and releasing tracks like these some thirty years ago, then they would have had as much success as The Cure. As it is, buy this album, you won’t be disappointed. Hopefully this band will be able to rejuvenate the Goth scene.
Listen to Red Painted Red at Bandcamp