3 CDs
(Pathway, Preach, Colours EPs)


"Wrapped in a black parcel, tied with black string, the bright, strangely childlike artwork of the CD sleeve itself emerges from its outer packaging like the sun from behind clouds. This, the latest release from Manchester duo Red Painted Red, completes a trilogy with the band's previous two EPs. And, as with all their outpourings, it signals itself as something singular even before you've even heard a note of the music. Wide-screen ballads unfurl themselves like flowers touched by sunlight upon an inviting bed of lush instrumentation; yet there's always a sense of space and a measured pace about the music. You could call what Red Painted Red do folk, although the arrangements here are far more rich and comprehensive than the stark voice-and-guitar stuff the f-word might suggest. The warmth and allure of the music is counterpointed by the lyrics, which hint at a heart of darkness lurking somewhere in the light. 'Will the silver stars come out again/And look at the sky?/Will they give me colour?/Bring me colour back again?' sings Yew, with her trademark controlled grace, on 'Colours'. You feel the answer to her question, for all the brightness with which the music is surrounded, can only be 'No'. Indefinably unsettling stuff, but as compelling as ever."
"Colours is a haunting, ethereal, and refreshing trip down an unusual path. An artist occasionally comes along that devotes so much attention to detail that it is obvious that each track was lovingly and painstakingly crafted. Red Painted Red is one of these groups - the Colours EP is a beautiful and downright haunting journey down a path less traveled, and every moment of it is a thrill to hear. Colours blends atmosphere and melody incredibly well - never does one aspect feel inhibited by the other. Yew's vocals are top-notch and mesh perfectly with the musical styling of the EP. They alternate from soulful to desolate as the music requires, and they are in most places layered and constructed to form an additional instrument that lies alongside the keys and strings. It simply would not be the same without her vocal contributions. "Colours" is laden with icy pads that create a feeling of emptiness. "Room" begins with a mournful harmonica piece, and later brings in pizzicato strings and classical guitars. It works itself into multiple crescendos of drums, keys, and vocals, the song alternating between peaks and valleys to great effect. Atmosphere is the key in this EP, and even those who prefer a more upbeat sound can appreciate the complex constructions within the music. This group is certainly one to watch, as their focus and natural abilities will undoubtedly drive them to create more beautiful and disturbing music as they grow."



'I don't mean to scare anyone off, but I think I'm going to mention the words 'jazz' and 'folk' here. But wait - whatever notions those words put into your mind are probably wrong, at least in the context of Red Painted Red. I'm just trying to make the point that this ain't rock 'n' roll. Far from it, kids. Instead, this four track EP paints a different picture, sometimes pastoral, sometimes dramatic, always inventive. With keening strings and skittering drums, keyboards adding detail, and strange drones and sweeps scudding in and out, this music sounds like the kind of stuff you encounter - if you're lucky - on Radio Three in the early hours, when you're flipping around the dial and everything seems haunted. Yvonne Neve enunciates disquieting post-Lewis Carroll lyrical narratives with a glassy English otherworldliness, unruffled even as the sonic landscape, with all its odd inhabitants, crowds around her. The disembodied laughter and gasps, as if a threatening world is closing in, on 'My Friend' is downright unsettling, but her vocal remains the strangely serene heart of the song. 'Preach' is a piano-led psalm, the voices of sampled preachers - frightening in their unruffled certainty - weaving in and out of Yew's own vocal, which here abandons serenity to creep inexorably through neurosis, towards an agitated mania. It's almost a relief when the song winds down, although I'm left wondering if the madness got her in the end. Red Painted Red conjure deceptively dark ambiences out of sunlight and green fields: they evoke the puckish sprites in the corners of your vision, the monsters under your bed. Pastoral never seemed so perturbing'

'With Red Painted Red, they continuously please fans of arcane melodies with their second EP, Preach. An organ-like synthesized piano calmly starts "Let's Go," which is a song of seduction and questioning. It's haunting and beautiful and could soothe the delusional, lead a funeral march, or be background at a casual get-together. It embodies many tones and emotions, and it contains many moods that grace different occasions. Poetry graces the introduction of "My Friend" as respiratory gasps from lungs deprived of air and comfort are interspersed throughout the track to make it all the more chilling, inviting for ghostly energy. It's delectable in an eerie way. "A Book" sounds as if a set of musicians who died long ago on a stage and whose remains were left with their instruments were resurrected and continued to play where they left off, despite being covered by spider webs and dust. The track holds history, ancient tones, and paints a solemn beauty on an aural canvas. "Preach" is like a long farewell to a lost loved one at the burial site. It's passionate yet eloquent in its poetic delivery. Tears are shed towards the end of the track as it is accompanied by a gentle piano and other soothing instruments, as if the departed soul attempts to soften the pain of those in mourning. Red Painted Red dips a toe in the pools of the macabre, but only skids around the edges of its murky depths. The band has gothic tendencies but only falls so far into the genre. Their sound is eloquent and unique. The duo states that despite all of the musical comparisons they receive, they "refute it all;" not one musician sounds quite like them. Red Painted Red expresses extreme musical passion through this small, but lovely sample of their inventive and and dedicated sound.'



'Devotees of "Obscure Stuff From Quite A Few Years Ago" might recall a band from Manchester called Mantra, who put out two albums of splendidly, incongruously, assertively ethereal atmospherics, before vanishing headlong into the Where Are They Now? file. Well, now two thirds of Mantra are back, in the guise of Red Painted Red. This four-song EP, neatly and unconventionally packaged in a gatefold paper sleeve, is their first release. Although fans of Mantra will greet the overall sound of the band with a smile of recognition, Red Painted Red are not simply a continuation of Mantra by other means. They're a bit more of an upfront proposition, accosting the listener with their rolling, skipping, sidling, glitch-classical torch songs and jazz punk ballads. The essential feeling is reserved, yet urgent. Vocalist Yew's voice is produced to sound up close, intimate. In fact, if you turn your back on your hi-fi during 'Flower' it sounds like she's right there in the room with you, a downright unsettling experience. 'Radionoise' churns up a reggae lope, and progressively builds to a teetering stack of noise, as shuddering, shredded guitar and effects are piled up and up. Red Painted Red certainly know how to build a wall of sound - and then they'll poke holes in it with a vocal sharpened to a point. I'm pleased to see that the band are just as far out on their own limb as Mantra ever were, and still as utterly unique. This isn't pop music, you know. This is the sound of DNA spirals unwinding.'

'This four-song EP will give you chills and leave you drooling... for more.Manchester, UK songwriters Yew and Simon Carroll, formerly of the band Mantra, are back, having released the Pathway EP as the first in a trio of EPs under the moniker Red Painted Red. The EP itself - seemingly splattered with red ink like paint or blood - is housed in an album of artwork depicting a murder of crows alongside a droopy zombie girl, certainly catching your attention at first glance. The four-song CD is a vehicle for the duo's poetic vision, a cynical mix of pain (literally, epitomized in the wrist-cutting "Pathway"), loneliness (via "Radionoise"), the loss of childhood innocence ("Flower," which may be the reason for the album's bold cover art), and lastly, life versus death ("Sleep," a fitting end for an emotionally charged collection). The EP begins in reverse with a recorded melody physically replayed in reverse, overlaid with piano or synth keys and a warm, inviting female voice. Yew leads us down a musical path of atmospheric storytelling, crunchy percussion, and perfectly textured synth sounds. Vibrant with similarities to Siouxsie Sioux and the trip-pop of Portishead, the album moves onward to "Radionoise," which is not that at all. The track has a gentleness of jazz and lounge influences, like velvety liquor on the rocks. Also rebelling from its seemingly harmless song title, "Flower" evokes a roughness and industrial influence with a unique Jamaican beat and vocal vibrato heard only from others in the dark genre like the women of Rasputina. The EP ends too soon, though, with "Sleep," a lovelorn solo that would suit any forlorn, off-Broadway musical. Really, Red Painted Red's Pathway EP will turn your head and leave you desiring an actual full-length album from the musical pair.'