Brace For Impact hits like a tsunami of nostalgia, reminding you of something you didn’t know you missed so much. It’s immediately reminiscent of Sleeper, The Breeders and the pop-rock sensibilities of Ash, cut with a punk rock defiance. It’s not stuck in the past, though: “watching ex-lovers age/blood on my internet page/you disappear so quietly/devastate me.”
London Bites slows it down but there’s discordance in the chord changes and unearthly vocals, replaced with dramatic drums and a gothic movie vibe. The chorus is lush with vampiric motifs. Expect to hear this at a cinema near you, or in a deserted graveyard.
Undone has a bittersweet beauty reminiscent of Nirvana’s Heartshaped Box: “these good people don’t deserve life’s cruelty…you say life goes on but I’ve come undone/Somedays I just really miss someone.” The electric feedback far outlasts the lament.
Then The Quiet Came is quiet in vocal but downtuned in guitar until a change of tone mirrors the change in season described in the song: “absence makes the heart grow colder/you’ll forget me soon/I picture myself getting older/but it’s not with you/Then the quiet came/I’m alone again.” The vocals sweetly circle that hard realisation.
Fortify has a disconcerting ambiance and a drum beat. As the song develops there’s an alien sound, but otherwise the cadence of a lullaby resounds.
Weary Bird signals its intention to rock intelligently, like early Idlewild. The twist towards the end confirms that this goes beyond a standard rock love song.
Photo credit: Ania Shrimpton
Let Me Down is a low key plea for romantic amnesty: “don’t be nice to me/give me back my hopeful heart.” The vocal has a Jenny Lewis quality.
Dear Heart poetically describes the cardiovascular system: “powering my dreams with sweet sustain/delicate muscle/you’re not built to hate.”
Love This Body is a statement of intent that turns out to be ironic: “I’d like to learn how to love this body like you do…I was not my best friend even though I should have been/we’re only here for a while then we’re not/ so let’s see what we can do with what we’ve got.”
Hold On picks up on themes expressed earlier on: “I’m alive/stepping off your pedestal/find another/I’m afraid this vessel’s full.” It’s biting as the subject’s number is up: “play your guitar and stop imagining me.”
Miles Away ends the album with a gentle paean bathed in strings.
The album feels uniform with powerful light and shade, touching on themes of loss, metaphor versus reality, realisation and identity.
She Makes War is touring with comedian Robin Ince in November. They will be the last shows under the She Makes War moniker. Here’s why she’s breaking up with herself! A new project is promised for 2020.
Brace For Impact is out now on My Big Sister Recordings.
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