Louisa Roach fronts She Drew the Gun with high reserves of maturity and poise. I haven’t seen such a composed front woman in a while, and it’s definitely refreshing. Describing her style as “Northern Queer Trash”, Roach’s influences range from Prince to Brit Pop to the Beatles to Patsy Cline. She and her band mates are straight outta’ Liverpool, so needless to say OG John Lennon is one of her inspirations even though she’s on the record as stating that naked uninhibited vocals are missing in male singers. She believes women aren’t as inhibited when it comes to singing and that men just can’t let loose because machismo can mask their fragility
Learning to play guitar at an early age by utilizing an Easy to Play Chords by Oasis book, Noel G’s songs became her go-to singalong with her friends, just as they did four thousands of Northerners coming up at the same time. “We knew all the words,” she says of even the deepest of deep cuts from the Manchester legends. Impressed by Noel’s simple but effective lyrical style, she began to craft her own poems and songs, eventually moving on to form the band.
Putting out “Memories of the Future” in 2016 was a big deal for She Drew the Gun. They wound up winning the impressive Glastonbury Emerging Talent Contest that year. The song “Poem”, something of a protest song, somehow wound up on a BBC best of list as THE song of 2016. The track addresses the ever-widening distinction between rich and poor in a big city and how city officials and the upper class are looking to hide the homeless in order to bring in the tourists that fuel the city’s economy. Roach utilizes the hyper-kinetic rhythm to drop it down to some spoken word passages.
It’s called wealth creation, yeah, it’s more efficient you see
Well sorry I forgot the free market would set us free/I forgot to only think about I am and me
Precocious? Perhaps. But the melody in her voice makes it super east to stomach, and her inspirational sources are tried and true. She cites feminist activist poet Kate Tempest as someone who she’s looking to emulate.
A mother of a 12-year-old son, Roach sports a pastel colored pixie cut and her blue eyes are fierce and piercing. She handles herself with the utmost composure when she leads her band flanked by a male bass player and two ladies playing keys and drums. The drummer especially kicks it out on the track, “Sweet Harmony’. “Let’s come together right now/Sweet Harmony”. A sax solo adds some interesting edge as Roach raps, “Possession is an ambition/ Reassess the vision”. The band plays tight and controlled. The psychedelic guitars mesh nicely with the uplifting synth lines.Their sound is quite sophisticated for such a young band, who only began rocking in 2015.
Their sophomore album, Revolution of the Mind, drops in early October. The first single, “Resister”, features a wildly hallucinogenic video which features peace signs and fists for solidarity. This is more “Make Love, Not War” than your average Brexit-era resistance. It’s looser. It swings. And it’s trippy as hell. Three qualities definitely lacking in the Twitter Activist Hordes of the current day.
She Drew The Gun is getting a lot of attention in the UK, a place where guitar music still matters, and here is to hoping they can make it to the US on their upcoming album cycle. Or perhaps that might not be such a good idea with a band name such as this. Will there be a PC outcry about the whole “Gun” thing? It’s obvious from the videos and cover art that SDTG draw from an edgier, more nuanced era of protest music that just may ruffle some puritan feathers on these shores.
This could all get very interesting.