She Drew The Gun’s Louisa Roach has always had a political edge to her songwriting. 2018’s ‘Revolution Of Mind’ was released in the aftermath of Corbyn’s surprise showing in the UK general election the previous year, an album formulated amid Left wing hope. Since then, however, political travails have only intensified – the Left has been side-lined, Brexit has been accomplished, and the pandemic has shattered the economy.
Amid this landscape, however, She Drew The Gun’s ‘Behave Myself’ is not only illuminating, but entertaining, too. Louisa Roach hasn’t lost the knack for ear-worm melodies that saw the project gain a barrel-load of hype, but she’s astute enough to use this ability to augment, contrast, and accentuate her laser-sharp lyrical observations.
The pulsating synths that open ‘Origin Song’ give way to bass-line spasms and her calm, assured voice, emotion restrained only by intent. Produced by Ross Orton, each instrument seems to bleed into the red, retaining the raw core of She Drew The Gun’s music while transporting it into a different landscape.
‘Next On The List’ has a playful early 90s vibe – check out the baggy-esque drumbeat – while the title track rejoices in an incisive post-punk setting. Words tumble forth, with Louisa Roach vowing to be herself, always; powerful and precocious, it’s one of the best songs she’s ever written.
Matching the personal with the political, She Drew The Gun’s third album can sometimes come off as polemical, but this is forever balanced with the sheer musicality of Louisa Roach’s work. ‘Cut Me Down’ may brim with paranoia, but it’s ever inch the potent indie stomper; ‘Class War (How Much)’ analyses wage slavery and working class competitiveness, but it’s also piece of sharp-as-broken-glass synth-pop.
A brave and often unsettling album, ‘Behave Myself’ is able to ask difficult questions, both of its author and the world she exists in. Refusing to accept easy answers, She Drew The Gun blends these conversations with some of her most finessed and contoured songwriting to date. A blast from start to finish, it finds the Liverpool rebel raising the bar yet again.
Words: Robin Murray
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