"...Roach shows her political side on ‘Poem’, sounding not unlike Amy Whinehouse doing Billy Bragg, nothing but a gentle guitar riff in the background..."
What started out three years ago as Louisa Roach’s solo project has morphed into a full-on band collaboration, and boy does this first album pack a punch. Coral frontman and fellow Merseysider James Skelly has been around the block enough times to spot a damn good thing when he sees it, last year snapping up SDTG for his record label Skeleton Key, and manning the controls for this very fine collection of songs, put together with a startling amount of craft.
Louisa is clearly inspired by the fine body of work produced by a rich seam of edgy female singer songwriters and this album takes those influences combining them with her own verbal take on life’s rich pageant…sometimes confrontational, heartbroken, introspective yet always interesting.
Opener ‘Where I End and You Begin’ is a cracking title for a break up song, a defiant and downbeat groover to boot, Louisa’s fragile yet soulful voice sitting nicely amongst the dreamy surroundings. The theme of love’s ups and downs continues with ‘Since You Were Not Mine’ and ‘If You Could See’ both similarly eerie, the latter beautifully beefed up by lush strings whilst ‘Chains’ proves that the grass isn’t always greener, Roach lamenting how it feels to be trapped in a failing relationship.
There are genuine moments of vulnerability too, just Louisa gently plucking acoustic guitar on ‘Pebbles’ and also during a large part of the hauntingly beautiful ‘Be Mine’ whilst retreating into the background on the languidly shuffling ‘What Will You Do’. Roach shows her political side on ‘Poem’, sounding not unlike Amy Whinehouse doing Billy Bragg, nothing but a gentle guitar riff in the background, redolent of the Bard of Barking’s early work as she pleads with the listener ‘Life, Give Me Something to Believe In’; after the recent events dominating the front and back pages, she’s definitely got a point.
‘I’m Not Alone’ is a pretty stylish slice of indie pop followed by ‘Pit Pony’, the albums only truly rock-out moment, also possessing somewhat of a Song 2 feel to it although you know that it can’t last as the wobbly finale ‘Or So I Thought’ brings things to a dreamy conclusion in a tsunami of electronic haze, leaving the listener wanting more.
One of the finds of 2016.
Words - Mike Price
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She Drew The Gun official