“Disarm”, the self-produced debut album from “She Makes War”, was the first collection of tracks in many a long year to so draw me in that I was unable to relinquish it in favour of other music for 2 or 3 weeks. Over such a time period my moods changed considerably from high to low, anger to peacefulness, but with its diversity and breadth of material the slickly-produced “Disarm” always had a track to match how I felt.
“She Makes War” is the solo project of Laura Kidd, and her vocal range and multi-instrumental ability endows her with a genius of delivery and versatility that allows for “thirteen tales of love, loss, crap mates, betrayal, homicide and genocide” that many artists and bands would be hard pushed to achieve in an entire career, let alone a single album – especially their first.
With tracks such as “Scared to Capsize”, “Slow Puncture”, and “Olympian”, Laura put me in mind of the innocent-girl-next-door I’d want to take on a picnic in a meadow on a summer day. And at the other end of the emotional scale, material such as “No Fireworks”, “NIMN”, “Got Milk”, and “Chicken” conjured up images of a grungy tattooed rock chick that I’d love to party with for 48 hours straight. Though I’d have probably needed a sit down and the toilet now and then…
For me the standout track on the album was unquestionably “NIMN”. With overlapping vocals, reverb, and superb use of contrasting instrumentation, this slice of “gothic industrial grunge” is quite simply one of the most stunning songs I’ve ever been privileged to enjoy. The entire album, and “NIMN” in particular put me in mind of Neil Gaiman’s “gothic grunge” universe as displayed in such works as “Coraline” and “Neverwhere”. Dark worlds mere seconds out of step with our own. Realms of ghosts and shadows pushing at the edges of our reality and reasoning.
”Ghosts” and “Shadows” certainly seems to be a recurring theme in Laura’s work and her entertaining blog goes by the name of ghosts&shadows. Those two words have haunted my mind ever since I finished listening to the album for the first time and for me that is the sign of a great album, one that works its way into your very soul.
As well as being an incredibly talented musician, Laura is also a filmmaker and video director. As well as producing often surreal promo films (including giant penguins and a treasure hunt by bicycle) for several tracks from the “Disarm” project, Laura also catalogued the production of the album through video blogs – which she is now continuing into the 2nd album, which is well into production and due out before the end of 2011.
I’ve already pre-ordered Album 2 and if you have any form of taste in music I suggest that you do the same. NOW!!!