The brainchild of Yvonne Neve and Simon Carroll, Red Painted Red are – it’s safe to say – not a typical Manchester band. In fact, one feels they would be more at home five hundred years ago, around the time Shakespeare was writing Macbeth. ‘Colours’ is the final part of a trilogy of an EPs and from its childlike cover art of witchcraft to the dark songs within, this is uniquely disturbing material.
Time has done little to crush the ghostly malevolence at the heart of Neve and Carroll’s music. ‘Colours’ demands immediate attention with tribal drums and Neve’s demonic brooding. ‘Room’ witnesses Neve’s vocals shifting between Kate Bush-style squealing and a threatening rumble, uttering lines such as “You hope my eyes and my mind and my soul don’t work no more”. ‘Goldmine’ and ‘We Are Here’ seem fairly sedate by comparison although the former’s minimalist electronica backing maintains the underlying tension whilst the latter recalls the etherealism of Dead Can Dance.
Now it is possible to buy the three EPs as part of a limited edition boxed set although just one EP is enough to give nightmares. ‘Colours’ may be easier to admire than to enjoy but Red Painted Red have concocted these sinister spells so that once you hear them, you feel compelled not to interrupt for fear of some kind of spiritual retributiion.
Kate Bush, Portishead, Dead Can Dance