There is nothing like the ghost of an album once its finished; the haunting melodies and harmonies echoing in your head. Direction of Travel lingers long after the final acoustic strums of ‘The Best’ fade into silence. This is due to the talents of visual artist and multi-instrumentalist Laura Kidd.
She Makes War is self-touted as “gloom pop”, an apt description for the bass laden bubblegum. The frenetic energy of second track ‘Cold Shoulder’ does what all good pop should – it hooks you. Not with cheesy, over-used hooks or the now trending ‘millennial whoop’, but with pithy, sardonic lyrics with a saccharine lilt.
It would be a disservice to try and label She Makes War with any one influence or sound. Vocal playfulness reminiscent of PJ Harvey is layered beneath molasses melodies and grunge-grit (best illustrated by ‘In Cold Blood’), most of which is performed by Kidd herself. She shows her best vocal performances when she lets her voice ebb and flow, proving that while her live shows might be manic she is always in control.
Final track ‘The Best’ offers us the antidote to the archetypal pop love song. Stripped bare in comparison to the rest of the album, whose heaviness manages not to grow wearisome, ‘The Best’ is a palette cleanser. “Sweetheart, you’re not mine, and that is just fine,” she sings – almost like a sigh. In all twelve there is not a weak track, though ‘Cold Shoulder’ and ’The Best’ stand out.
Direction of Travel is heavier on gloom that it is on pop, but doesn’t leave the taste of sadness in your mouth. Nor the sickly-sweetness of pop. She Makes War straddles the line between these two disparate genres with ease. It is this juxtaposition that makes Direction of Travel unique; it’s thematically dissonant and sonically captivating.
Direction Of Travel is out now and available on iTunes to buy.
Photo Credit: Dina Karklina