Falling somewhere between PJ Harvey and Beach House, She Drew The Gun have produced a luscious yet powerful debut album. There’s a buzz around this Liverpool artist – they’re the winners of the Glastonbury ‘Emerging Talent’ competition and have been added to the Radio 6 ‘Playlist of the Week’ – and Memories of the Future shows that they certainly deserve the hype.
Louisa Roach’s (a.k.a She Drew The Gun) smooth, soulful vocals give the album it’s richness, especially to the deeply personal love songs that form the mainstay of the album. ‘Since You Were Not Mine’ – a lingering tale of loss and loneliness – is near the beginning of the album, creating a love lorn, yet mysterious, tone, that weaves itself throughout the album.
These vocals are set within refreshingly moody synths and percussion. This elegant pared back production is the work of The Coral frontman James Skelley; it’s evocative and enticing, and forms a neat compliment to Roach’s singing.
‘What Will You Do’ continues the theme of hypnotic love songs – or, rather, out-of-love songs. It’s a beautiful, bluesy song, with wonderfully unsettling violins and flickering guitars. Roach’s sonorous and clear singing fills the song with deep emotion, brought to the fore by the understated and uncluttered instrumentals.
The album’s closing song, ‘Poem’, provides an unexpected twist. It’s a protest song, a passionate cry rallying for freedom and compassion in the face of free market inequality. In the folk tradition, She Drew The Gun makes politics sound poetic. The song is driven forwards by the crisp, but firm, plucking of an acoustic guitar. ‘Poem’ isn’t just a lament of the modern world’s woes – it throbs with hope and action, too.
‘Pit Pony’ also sticks out as unusual for Memories of the Future. The deeper, more masculine instrumentals marks this song as different to the majority of She Drew The Gun’s output; it’s louder and races towards a crescendo, but retains the enigmatic and mysterious atmosphere created by the rest of the album. There’s also a more ambiguous theme. While the rest of the album sticks to the more familiar ground of heart-ache or politics, ‘Pit Pony’ goes off piste into more metaphorical terrain.
Memories of the Future earmarks She Drew The Gun as one of the most exciting new talents of 2016. Their distinctive sound feels fresh and current, yet one whose resonance and appeal will endure into the future. The album displays an enticing range of themes and sounds, while remaining coherently unified. This is an unusual quality, particularly for a first album, which perhaps points towards exciting things to come from this musician.