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She Drew The GunShe Drew The Gun
Album: Memories Of The Future
Label: Skeleton Key
Tracks: 11

Originally a vehicle for songwriter Louisa Roach as a solo performer, She Drew The Gun has since morphed and evolved into a full band since it's inception in 2013, and this debut album is a direct result of her meeting with James Skelly in 2015 who was introduced by a friend who had heard Louisa doing a live session for the local BBC Introducing show. Skelly, of erstwhile indie popsters The Coral, liked what he heard, assumed production duties, and "Memories Of The Future" is the result of the collaboration.

Steve Lamacq championed an early release that was up on SoundCloud, and that is no great surprise listening to this collection of songs. This is very BBC Radio 6 orientated. It's the kind of mu-sic that is lapped up by the likes of the afore-mentioned disc-spinner, along with Shaun Keaveny, Lauren Laverne et al. If you could manufacture music to fit a certain radio station then this album would be a perfect example.

The production is deliberately lo-fi in it's approach, and that fits perfectly into the atmosphere of the album, on which Roach explores multiple themes of self-scrutiny, drunken reflection, political pro-test, and the staple of love in it's various guises. If the music sounds a little cliched at times, then at least the lyrics are pushing the boundaries somewhat.

It's a debut album that i believe only hints at what Louisa is capable of, but hey that's fine as it's only a first-timer. To these ears, the light and shade is missing. And as pleasant as songs like "Here I End And You Begin" and "What Will You Do" are, the album is fairly one-paced which is slightly at odds with the biography description of "caught in a bubble of psych-tinged pop". I wasn't expecting the Strawberry Alarm Clock or anything but I was expecting some dashes of colour, rather than a black and white industrial panorama with just five shades of grey.

"Poem" is, for me, the stand out track on the album and is THE song that hints at what Roach can produce in terms of hard-hitting rhetoric and pure ragged emotion. "Police getting busy cleaning up the streets, cos that's what we need to make the place neat. Take the homeless man's rags, no sleeping bags, no place to sleep, cos we're far too civilised round here to see an unkempt human being…it's not enough to pretend you don't see 'em…well I hope that you feel more comfortable doing your sight-seeing, taking pictures, buying fucking union jack magnets and key-rings…". It's stream of conscious, relevant, straight from the heart stuff. And all the better for it. There's no verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, chorus structure here. It's just telling you straight with minimal carefully picked guitar and reedy weedy keyboards.

So overall, a fistful of self-written songs that hint at what may be to come. Songs that are almost anti-melody in their stance, almost taking off, but not quite getting there just yet.

Ken Brown