ALBUM: Direction of Travel – She Makes War

Direction of Travel - She Makes WarWords by Ed King / Gig pic by Claire Leach

April, the month of ‘openings’ according to the Romans – sandwiched in between the God of War and the Goddess of Growth. And apparently it snows, sometimes.

April 2016 saw the release of She Makes War’s third album, Direction of Travel – a glorious 12 track battle cry to love, family, resilience, and the threat of an angry girlfriend (or case of herpes) coming to settle the score.

Self-produced, She Makes War’s third album is a step up from its predecessors – built on rich bedrock of melody, mischievous lyrics and unflinching self-analysis. It sounds great too; recorded in part at Laura Kidd’s home (she who is She Makes War) and in part at J&J’s Recording Studio in Bristol.

In our interview with Laura Kidd she professed wanting to make the album ‘of a high quality but I didn’t want it to be about perfection – I wanted it to feel like something happened’. And that it does; Direction of Travel wears its heart on its sleeve in a fun, challenging and ultimately endearing way.

Plus the opening track is a ball grabbing corker – ‘Drown Me Out’ is a driven rock thumper, a melancholic call to arms wrapped around a simply addictive chorus. And you know one of the lines already, so sing along.

‘Cold Shoulder’ is the first playful dig at crap lovers, something She Makes War might become synonymous with if a few more February 14ths go sour. But if you’re going to do it then you do it like this; punky, unabashed, by the time the second line has been spat out you know right where you are. Plus the line I referenced earlier (beginning of the second verse) still makes me laugh and I’ve been playing it near on repeat.

A further high point comes from the subtle acoustic soul search of ‘Paper Thin’, which not only puts this trite metaphor to fresh use (not easy) but also has Tanya Donelly on backing vocals. Result. ‘Stargazing’ tells a soft lament of lost love with a beautiful string section adornment – Laura Kidd again composing beyond her own head.

‘Time to Change’ is a cracking, jangly jaunt on ukulele, and whilst the additional vocals from Mark Chadwick don’t work for me I’m sure the distinctive The Levellers front man will be a draw for some. Darker moments come in the She Makes War @ The Sunflower Lounge / Claire Leach © Birmingham ReviewLynch-esque walk through psychosis and dependency in ‘Turning to You’, the brooding intent of ‘In Cold Blood’, and the inherently personal tale of family fears in ‘Please Don’t’ – a track written when Laura Kidd’s father was seriously ill.

Then there’s the final track on Direction to Travel, ‘The Best’. Listen to it after listening to the entire album and make you own minds up. But, to me, the uplifting lullaby exit on Direction of Travel is a simple stroke of brilliance, right down to the stripped back final fifteen seconds.

As a rule I look for counterpoints but it’s genuinely hard to do here. And whilst I’d cite ‘Alone’ and ‘5000 Miles’ as the weaker moments on the album – less fully filled out songs, but ideas that became more than a motif – this is in the face of stiff competition. The first half of Direction to Travel is noticeably stronger so maybe track listing could be another negative. There’s a couple of cloying lyrics in there too, but I’m reaching here. Maybe my heart just isn’t good enough to do amazing things.

If you’re a fan of She Makes War you’re going to, quite rightly, love this album – Kidd’s first two LPs feel now like they were always alluding to this release.  If you’ve never heard of this Bristol based polymath, then this is pretty much the most perfect introduction.

And if you get the ‘rare chance’ to see She Makes War perform this with a full band… one of the best encores I’ve seen in years. I hugged the guitarist.

‘Drown Me Out’ – She Makes War

To read Ed King’s INTERVIEW with She Makes War, click here

To Read Billy Beale’s BREVIEW of She Makes War at The Sunflower Lounge, click here.

To see Claire Leach’s full Flickr of pics from The Sunflower Lounge gig, click here.


Direction of Travel was released in April 2016, via State51 ConspiricyFor more on She Makes War, including online purchase points to Laura Kidd’s full back catalogue, visit


BPREVIEW: She Makes War @ Sunflower Lounge 22.11.16

She Makes War @ Sunflower Lounge 22.11.16




Words by Ed King

On Tuesday 22nd November, She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) comes to Birmingham – presenting ‘An Evening With…’ ate Sunflower Lounge. She Makes War will be headlining the night with a full band set, alongside support slots from Luckless and Laura Kidd as a solo performer.birm_prev-logo-main-lr

Doors open at 7:30pm with an 11pm curfew. Tickets are priced at £8 (advance) – as presented by My Big Sister. For direct gig info and online ticket sales, click here.

Last time Birmingham Review saw She Make War was as support for Carina Round at the Hare & Hounds in June, bringing a sense of joy to an otherwise depressingly flat evening. Sorry Carina, we f*ing love you but…

She Makes War braved out a broken leg that night to bring us an awesome solo show and endearingly endearing on stage banter (remember Ms Kidd has penned and performed an hour long love lament at the Edinburgh Fringe, the subtly titled one woman show Shit Girlfriend).

We’d missed her previous gig at Ort in May, but the ball of excitement about She Makes War’s third studio album – Direction of Travel (out on The state51 Conspiracy) – had been bouncing around our editorial HQ since April. Finally getting to see some of it on stage was a huge Brucey Bonus.

direction-of-travelNow the ‘queen of gloom pop’ is back in Birmingham for ‘An Evening with She Makes War’ at The Sunflower Lounge on Tues 22nd November. And this time she’s brought her band, alongside another one woman music machine – Luckless. We are most excited.

Meanwhile back at the ranch… She Makes War released her third studio album, Direction of Travel, in April this year – the bio of which reads like a litany of my early indie rock ideals. Always good to see Tanya Donelly’s name on an album. But the whole of Direction of Travel is a pretty special endevour; a bold and beautifully vulnerable affair, shifting from the tougher edges to the softer centre of this absurdly versatile artist. The kind of game changer you want to see in the The Sunflower Lounge too.

We’re kinda hooked for now, with songs to both challenge and comfort across the 12 track LP. Loads to choose from, but see what you make of this pretty little love dissection below. ‘What’s coming for me…’

‘Cold Shoulder’ / She Makes War

‘An Evening with She Make War’ comes The Sunflower Lounge on Tues 22nd November – presenting both solo and full band sets from She Makes War, alongside further support from Luckless. For direct gig info and online tickets sales, click here.


For more on She Makes War, visit

For more on Luckless, visit

For more from The Sunflower Lounge, visit