England’s Blood Red Shoes conjured a number of ‘90s alt-rock bands on earlier releases, making it pretty easy to identify their influences. On this self-titled album (their fourth full-length), the fermenting seems to have completed its cycle, with obvious inspirations dissolving into the background and an emerging muscular, emphatic rock sound that simply sounds like Blood Red Shoes. The duo of Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter deliver as much firepower as a five-piece. Simmering rhythms and furious guitars rant, burst, and scrape with precision and alacrity, fueled by copious amounts of tension and dark brooding. No happy moments here, folks—but that’s not what you came for. The roiling, seething, and inarguably sexy opening track, “Welcome Home,” is nearly perfect but for one thing: it’s barely two minutes long. It leaves the listener craving just 20 seconds more of the tune’s unabashed lust. The duo traveled to Berlin and rented a studio space where they lived and recorded Blood Red Shoes whenever they felt up for it: no producer, engineer, or other heads/hands were in the mix. The result is remarkably powerful.