This week saw the release of the new She Makes War album ‘Brace For Impact’, which is at number 47 in the midweek charts. It marks a long-overdue chart debut for the brilliant Bristol-based multi-instrumentalist Laura Kidd, who has scored a victory for DIY music with this appealing and accomplished LP.
It kicks off superbly with the stormy single ‘Devastate Me’, where a fiery no-nonsense attitude matches up with a monster chorus and the sort of heaving riffage that brings to mind The Breeders, Garbage and other alt-rock heroes. Then there’s the excellent ‘London Bites’, gritty, dark and melodic stuff, and one of the best moments here. The singles are perhaps curveballs, for there is a lot of light, calm and melody as well as the heavier elements. The more introspective likes of ‘Strong Enough‘ contrast nicely with songs like the explosive ‘Undone‘, which rages at loss and the injustices of life, and the melancholic Britpop track ‘Then The Quiet Came’. Kidd can switch from marvellous electronics on the dreamy, Dubstar-like ‘Fortify‘ to dirty grunge riffage on ‘Weary Bird’ with ease, while alt-rock with delicate shades of The Sundays develop into something heavier on ‘Let Me Down‘. With its sweet ukelele, 60s pop vibes, the melodic ‘Dear Heart‘ is almost reminiscent of underrated late 90s indie outfit The audience, which certainly isn’t a bad thing in my book.
Elsewhere, the brooding, angular, atmospherics on ‘Love This Body’ break into a lively chorus, and the intense, emotional ‘Hold On’ has 90s indie flavours all over the solo. The sparse, orchestral closer ‘Miles Away’ is another highlight, bringing to mind the masterful arrangements of the Eels in places.
Drawing on personal experiences, the state of the world and society as well as a fine range of well-picked influences, ‘Brace For Impact’ continues Laura Kidd’s run of impressive self-released albums.