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Laura-Mary Carter Town Called Nothing

Best known as one half of guitar-shredding rock duo Blood Red Shoes, Laura-Mary Carter's superb, contemplative alt-country debut embraces displacement and deracination.

Released: 3 December 2021
Town Called Nothing

Themes of love, desolation and abandonment run deep through this Ed Harcourt-produced six track mini-album, the excellent debut solo offering from Laura-Mary Carter.

Take the title track for example, a song which searches for a derelict reflection that’s almost, but not quite, out of reach. The lyric 'Here in my car / Let's drive to nowhere' expresses a spectral echo of a past that glimmers momentarily in the sensorial margins. Opener 'Blue Is Not My Colour' sets the tone with a lyric that drips cognitive dissonance in the comfort of being different. The song’s upbeat alt-country vibe is a neat juxtaposition to the Kirsty MacColl-like irony of “But you're boring me / With your so-called misery”.

The curveball 'Signs' enters stage-left with a simmering drone before jackhammer drums and ghostly guitar kicks in to enhance the drama. It’s accompanied by a lyrical undercurrent of mystery that wouldn't be out of place on a Blue Oyster Cult song. The heartfelt clarity of the vocals on 'Better On My Own' are rudely interrupted by crashing, coruscating guitar, packing a haymaker punch.

It's the perfect appetiser to stand-out track 'The City We Live', with its off-kilter cascading intro that aids and abets a dark undertone. The lyric 'I cut off all my old ties / Just so you're clear in my sights' neatly frames a deep sense of unsettling danger. There's a sweet violin break coupled with sour chord changes that channel The National and Kurt Vile – it's a real tour de force.

On closer 'Ceremony', dramatic chords crash amid an undercurrent of menace backed up by a skittering, rattlesnake beat. Carter describes the mini-album as being about "that fear of being left to go derelict, just like those old towns", a sentiment and emotion she’s managed to capture perfectly.