Louisa Roach is a major creative force in She Drew The Gun.
Way before releasing the band’s new album Revolution Of Mind, a move to Liverpool would have a profound impact on the Wirral born-and-bred guitarist and songwriter, and really kick things some off: balancing her psychology degree studies whilst trying out musical ideas during open mic sessions around Liverpool led on to greater things, picking up the guitar again a real blessing which would prove crucial for what was to come.
Roach’s musical career began to take shape when a friend introduced her to The Coral’s James Skelly, who in turn urged her to sign to his label Skeleton Key Records. 2016 then became She Drew The Gun’s breakthrough year as they released debut album Memories Of The Future and received an invite to play the BBC 6Music stage at SXSW in Austin, Texas. On top of that, the band won Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition before embarking on their first UK headline tour.
Produced by Skelly at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, Revolution Of Mind is an imaginative and substantial piece of work. Whilst a focus on political opinion and thought is still welcome in music, there remains a danger of losing some of the art, charm and musical expression in the process, but things are somewhat different when Louisa Roach’s hands are firmly placed at the steering wheel, with the perfect balance between the two established without letting one kill off the other.
There is a sense of reward in this achievement, and it is encouraging to see a contemporary artist who understands how to handle poetry and politics, someone who manages to be topical but also endearing. Louisa has previously spoken about her thoughts behind the album, explaining that it is about ‘questioning the status quo, questioning your own state of mind and how it has affected the systems we live in’.
Sonically, the album pays respect to different eras and influences in music: from the super-captivating arrangement of Something For The Pain, a song with an extremely cool, calm and consistent 1960s vibe, to the 1990s trip-hop element and rap influence present on both Arm Yourself and Dopamine, through the cinematic music quality of Resister Reprise, She Drew The Gun take us on an immaculate journey comprising not just a fascinating mix of genres, but also one that entails the most impressive soundscapes.
This album has an identity and a voice. The emotion, thought, heart and art displayed symbolise the ideal encounter, and the end result is a thrilling and clever record with an overriding theme of having the strength and confidence to stand up for oneself; the world we live in is far from ideal, but the best way to achieve something is to continue to ask questions. Somewhere behind all this, it’s about seeing things for what they really are and not what you want them to be.
Realism is definitely key, realism delivered and presented with nuance, sophistication and eclecticism.