There’s a trend surrounding us at the moment, it’s been here for five or six years; somebody starts a band – they have a drummer, guitar, bass, someone on keys, hair from a magazine and a look that’s been cobbled together from charity shop windows and purchased from some airy shop staffed by people who stare vacantly at you unless you can name their three favourite bands from the future. The music of these bands is typically slightly down-beat, shoe-gazey, lo-fi, indie. Individual but lost in the swathes of imitators that are available today.
This trend isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in this decade it has given us some truly excellent music, but when there’s always biscuits in the tin where’s the fun in biscuits? You need a flash of colour in amongst it – a Bourbon hidden beneath the seemingly endless pile of Rich Teas. Cue Louisa Roach of She Drew the Gun.
The singer’s vocal delivery is that clear and confident, so direct and assured, you immediately fall in line with every single sentiment and opinion she throws at you. During the stand-out track of the album, ‘Poem’, liberal protests rain down for a full four minutes and not once does it sound like the over-privileged whining of somebody who’s preferred provider of CND t-shirts might be Selfridges. Every line is down the barrel, carrying a level of jadedness that always stays well away from just being stroppy.
Elsewhere on the album, her voice slides subtly through a few different costumes changes. Oddly, I found certain elements reminded me of Andrea Corr. However, I’m not one to knock somebody’s image unless truly deserved so we’ll quickly move away from from that. Roach shifts from a sultry warmth to more poppy clarity and then towards a jazz feel whilst sticking firmly to her own unique singing style. My ears clung to it very much like you’d expect somebody to grab that hidden Bourbon.
There are the ebbs and flows you’d expect here; some tracks quickly become ear worms but others drift by without attracting too much attention – I’m not sure that has too much to do with the band’s writing particularly, it’s just the sort of collateral damage that comes with such a low key style. It’s never been a genre that has nurtured too many “bangers”. However, when you see that some have drawn comparisons between She Drew the Gun and the likes of Portishead (the closing minutes of ‘Be Mine’ must surely be a nod to the Bristol trip-hopper’s ‘Seven Months’) any quibbles about that kind of thing might seem a bit petty. There are moments of swagger though, with ‘Pit Pony’ injecting a bit of thump and attitude into proceedings – a possible hint of the direction band might take in the future.
As a complete package, ‘Memories of the Future’ is a classy piece of work that doesn’t feel the need to go up through the gears just to make an impact. The band ably get their slightly world-weary message across almost passively and that gives it an assuredness that is the main source of attraction. Maybe it’s this mature writing and being so comfortable in their own skins that swung the voting of the Glastonbury emerging talent competition judges in their favour this year – it is certainly catching the ears of plenty of music fans across the country at the moment, mine included.