On occasion, tags and labels attach themselves to artists that don’t really do them justice. One such label is ‘Gloom Pop’, which to the uninitiated has connotations of morose, despondent music that self-harms. It has attached itself to She Makes War; the solo project of the multi-faceted Laura Kidd, yet her music transcends such simplistic nomenclature.
Having performed all around the world with disparate artists such as Tricky, A-Ha, I Blame Coco, The Young Punx and Alex Parks, the styles and experiences that Kidd can draw on are legion and their influence are in evidence throughout her second full length album, Little Battles. Smooth, almost a cappella ballads, nestle amongst both the solemn and the upbeat; warm melodic harp sounds give way to cold and forceful staccato drum beats. Tonally the record flits from steel like assurance to crystal fragility, raw and edgy to tender and soft.
Her beguiling, almost choral vocals are often looped to create light harmonies that sit atop layers and layers of sound. These in turn are complimented by found recordings of the world. A Japanese mountaintop tannoy, rain in South London, and helicopters circling above are just a few additions to the already rich tapestry on offer.
The Little Battles of the album’s narrative are largely internal, the struggles and turmoils faced across life’s turbulent journey. It would be easy to play this out in a contrived and hackneyed fashion but Kidd handles them all with a delicacy and respect one would expect from such a disarming performer.
Little Battles is out now on My Big Sister Recordings and is available in a number of different packages from the She Makes War bandcamp page
Watch: She Makes War – “Exit Strategy”