What better way to win a host of new fans than reimagining your own songs? None, based on this evidence!
Bristol based alt-rock drenched indie-folker She Makes War, aka Laura Kidd, has been described as the union of Elliott Smith’s gloom and Sleater Kinney’s tearing catharsis. If that’s got your ears pricked up then keep them clear, because Disarm:15 will be filling them for the foreseeable future.
Fans of Kidd will note that the EP’s five tracks all featured on her brilliant debut album Disarm. However, Disarm:15 is no cobbled-together attempt to “reissue, repackage, repackage”, as Kidd treats the songs to a fresh perspective. This makes for a superior version of the excellent I Am, which now unites a thunderous distortion with the carnival melodies of Princess Chelsea, while Slow Puncture sounds thicker, fuller and imbued with the bloody-eyed misery of PJ Harvey.
Elsewhere, the maudlin melody at the heart of No Fireworks becomes even more haunting when transferred to a violin, and Scared To Capsize sees it sweetness slowly sucked out. Ghostsandshadows is perhaps the only case where Kidd’s second take doesn’t quite add enough that’s new – even then, though, it’s still a reimagining of the original.
With Disarm:15, She Makes War risked opening herself up to charges of self-indulgence and a lack of ideas – what could be considered more so than being your own cover artist? However, an alternate take is that it’s the work of a brave songwriter, one willing to be mocked for the belief that she could bring something new to music which was already loved. The five songs that feature on this EP show Laura Kidd to be a writer of growth and diversity, one who’s not just capable of pleasing existing fans but of winning new ones.
Verdict: Gloomy, thunderous and brilliant indie-folk