The Red Paintings are not a group likely to shy away from doing things a little differently. Their live shows are obvoiusly the greatest example of this, being incredibly theatrical and keeping audience interaction at levels that far surpass those of your ordinary Rock band. The Red Paintings have again gone out on a limb to try something different, this time with their 5th release, Your Tears Are Warning Signs
The album cover proclaims "The Virgin Mary Tour Strings Album", which at first didn't really give me any idea of what to expect before my first listen. After that first listen, I was left thinking that The Red Paintings were pretty cool, but I didn't really see anything different about this album. At the time, it was the only release I'd heard from them, and as I became a bigger and bigger fan, I began to realise what an amazing piece of work Your Tears Are Warning Signs
In Mid 2004, The Red Paintings were busy embarking on their "Virgin Mary" tour of Australia. The 5th "gig" of that tour happened to bring them to local Brisbane Radio station, 4ZZZ fm, on July 24th, 2003. They were they were to play a live, straight to air set, accompanied by an interview. The Red Paintings took this oppurtunity for what it was, playing with a stripped down version of the band. Ie; No Drums, no Bass, no samples, leaving only the stringed instruments and vocals. The text on the cover now makes perfectly good sense.
The record button was pressed, and the trio began, playing the 48 minute set in one, non stop, take. What hit the airwaves was brilliant. The essence of an actual Red Paintings gig had finally been caught on tape, creating one of the most intimate recordings I've heard. The album art states that "It's rough, but we're only human and humans make plenty of mistakes. This time we just forgot the eraser", but that eraser is far from being needed.
It's at this point that I'll try to stop my increasingly raging fanboyism, and start describing the the actual music. Of the 11 tracks, 6 had been released on the 2 previous EP's. From what I've heard of these prior releases, this album has captured some magic that the others hadn't. It's a great improvement, particularly with the songs that appeared on the Cinema Love EP. The new songs are amazing as well, adding to the albums feeling of sadness and desolation. Musically, everything has come together very well. Nothing sounds out of place being played on an acoustic guitar instead of an electric, and no instrument downs out another. The tone of the violin is perfect, in contrast to other recording where it can sound a little off.
Overall, Your Tears Are Warning Signs
is an amazing release, which I'd recommend to any fan of TRP, Acoustic Music, the Violin or Alt Rock music in general. I've been trying to think of some reason not to give this album a 5/5, which I've never done before, but I just can't do it. There's nothing wrong with the production, no weak tracks, no flaws musically, and the song writing is amazing, so Your Tears Are Warning Signs
gets my first 5/5 rating.