Liverpool three-piece She Drew The Gun have us finally in their sites with their new release
Whatever the contemporary sound is, She Drew the Gun are nailing it. A three piece from Liverpool, their music’s a dreamy amalgam of ‘90s PJ Harvey, the Laura Marling we fell in love with, and Pure Bathing Culture’s humbler grooves. You might say She Drew Gun are the result of pop’s natural evolution. Each note feels exciting, yet somehow familiar, because woven between the bars of She Drew the Gun’s songs are influences from most of the female-fronted bands you’ve loved over the past decade. Perhaps it is in the inevitability of this scrummy post-pop – so to speak – that we find the true origin of the expression music to our ears.
‘Memories of the Future‘ opens confidently with ‘Where I End and You Begin’, a resolute, well-paced address to an ex-lover. Louisa Roach’s gravelly voice draws one in, setting the tone well for the eleven-song album. It’s the second track, however, that really kicks things off. ‘Since You Were Not Mine’ is instantly likeable. A Scuzzy electric guitar ruffles Louisa’s voice, which flows through lines like “…my lips too cold to speak / Of a love just out of reach”, lingers at an intriguing remove. It’s no wonder BBC 6 Music are so attracted to this track, a broody questioning of the reality of love.
‘If You Could See’ is where the groove comes in, noir-esque with a gurgling bass line evocative of Alabama Shakes. It’s here that She Drew the Gun weaponise. They introduce the gun and the pen as interchangeable implements, calling to mind the French feminist theories of the ‘70s. We draw what we can to call attention to ourselves, our circumstances. Squeaky chord changes convey this sense of an unsteady transition. Lyrics such as ‘How’s it lookin’ up there / Now the war is done?’ and ‘If I could show you my view / You would pick up the fight now’ suggest that perspective cannot be conveyed, it has to be lived. Instead of a universal empathy there’s at best wonderment and at worst, a misunderstanding.
Momentum increases with catchy ‘Chains’. With such an upbeat refrain, it’s only by the second chorus that the solemn sentiment of these lyrics hits. ‘We make bonds,’ Roach sings, ‘that end up like chains / We have to break to start over again.’ A feather from the cap of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’, it’s inevitable that ‘Chains’ will be many someones’ summer echo. A softer shade of regret is communicated in the next track, ‘Pebbles’. The guitar’s prettily picked notes almost camouflage Roach’s resignation. But really, it’s as if the whole album is a reminder of how not to be in love.
‘Poem’ just about gets away with having a strikingly familiar plod to its melody because it is this uncomplicated version of their sound which allows for lyrics to reveal themselves fully. An outing of capitalism’s marginalisation – “Now the government’s demanding that we give away for free / Everything our grandparents fought for / To some company’ – She Drew the Gun are really penetrating the surface here. Like poet Seamus Heaney, they too, ‘dig’ with their pen. ‘There’s still time,’ they sing, ‘if you feel this way too.”
With this much fervour up till their eighth track, She Drew the Gun were justifiably privy to the unspoken agreement that an album’s last third is allowed to get a little… Lazy. Despite a sweet, breezy feel running through them, ‘I Am Not Alone’ leaves much to be desired in the way of complexity; forgettable ‘Be Mine’ ends without the hint of an edge. A little distortion in ‘Pit Pony’ calls attention back to itself, revealing an interesting style that might be worth developing. Though last track ‘Or So I Thought’ is little more than a satisfying fade out, it’s undeniable that She Drew the Gun leave more than a bullet-sized impression. They’re definitely ones to watch on the draw.
‘Memories of the Future is available now via Skeleton Key Records.
This She Drew the Gun article was written by Eva Hibbs a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.