Louisa Roach began She Drew The Gun as a solo project, regularly playing open mic events and acoustic shows, but her debut Memories Of The Future, is much more than another acoustic singer-songwriter album, using quite a broad palette of sounds and influences.
Released on fellow Merseysiders The Coral‘s label Skeleton Key Records, Roach brought in percussionist Sian Monaghan to add texture to her songs, and adds further members for live shows. Roach’s vocal style has a smoky, slightly jazzy feel and the songs themselves are a varied bunch – opener ‘Where I End and You Begin’ is a subtle track based around Monaghan’s earthy-sounding drums and some nicely distorted bass with the faintest guitar chiming away in the background as the voice is centre-stage.
‘Since You Were Not Mine’ is a similarly clear-minded track, a very natural and effective production (from The Coral’s James Skelly) is perfect for these songs which were potentially originally solo acoustic tracks. Roach resists the temptation to load too much into the mix and gets the balance just right.
‘If You Could See’ was the album’s first single and is a slow-burner; ghostly synths and acoustic guitars underpinning another highly effective Roach vocal – it was quite a brave choice as it isn’t the most immediate track on the record, but it is definitely one of the highlights.
‘Pebbles’ recalls the pared-back sound of Roach’s contemporary Marika Hackman while ‘What Will You Do’ goes off at a tangent; treated vocals that sound as if they are coming from a distant telephone over a waltz-time backing. It is the album’s most playful track and precedes new single ‘Poem’, which is maybe a little too in awe of Alex Turner and a bit of a red herring, in terms of accurately representing the record.
‘I’m Not Alone’ on the other hand is a gorgeously simple track that uses restrained backing vocals and reverbed guitar to get its point across.
Just as the album is nearing its conclusion, the fabulous ‘Pit Pony’ arrives, all B-52s keyboard riffs and Duane Eddy guitars and somehow sounds classic and totally new at the same time. It is the highlight of the album and could be the song to break She Drew The Gun to a wider audience.
‘Or So I Thought’ is a sombre finale; a drum and guitar-free track that floats along on whispery synths and disappears off quietly over the horizon.
Memories Of The Future is an intriguing glance at an artist with the potential to capitalise on the progress that she has already made in earning a Steve Lamacq session and winning Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition, which means that She Drew The Gun will be appearing on the John Peel Stage at the festival this summer.
A four-piece version of the band goes on tour this week, beginning on Friday 22nd April at Leeds Fulford Arms, followed by Glasgow Hug & Pint (24), Bristol Louisiana (26), London Victoria (28), Liverpool Buyer’s Club (29), Birmingham Sunflower Lounge (30) and Salford St Philip’s Church (1st May).
Memories Of The Future is released on 22nd April 2016.