“Exit Strategy” stands out of course, with its lurching, lo-fi videogame backbeat and sullen singsong refrain, making the sweet contrast of the harp-driven and string-laden “Butterflies” all the sharper. With its innovative use of loops and subtle beat-boxing “Delete” invents electronic a cappella before Kidd leads a solemn four-piece choir in a bitter hymn to the lost girls of Mexico.
If that all sounds a bit too heavy-going, past session work with artists as varied asFame Academy’s Alex Parks and trip-hop vocalist Tricky has instilled in Kidd an appreciation for the pop hook, which she uses to full effect in songs as diverse as the grungy “Magpie Heart”, the sparse “Done and Said” and the delicate, acoustic “Blue”.
(the arts desk)
‘Magpie Heart’, ‘Delete’ and ‘Segue’ all use layered, harmonised vocals to give the songs their backbone rhythm. ‘Delete’, in particular, is a smartly constructed track that only introduces other instruments towards its end. Vitally, this clever approach doesn’t detract from the song’s appeal, as Kidd, in her endearingly inflected vocal, wishes she could self-edit her life: “I’d like to delete myself / don’t like to repeat myself.” The instrumentation of the album, too, produces some lovely moments, with ukulele, autoharp, melodica and, most notably, harp all featuring, as well as more conventional strings.
Despite its fifteen tracks, Little Battles is a pleasingly well-paced longplayer. Some of its best moments occur towards its end (a welcome change from the front-loading more common with longer albums), with the likeable ‘Done & Said’ and concluding track ‘Disarm’ offering rich, lush harmonies and a note that closes the album with a flourish just this side of OTT. From the moving testament to Mexico’s “lost daughters” of ‘May Our Daughters Return Home’ (enhanced by the sombre chorus of supporting vocals from Tasmin Archer, Hysterical Injury’s Annie Gardiner, Gaggle’s Dana Jade and Anna Madeleine) to the moody allure of the more personal reflections found in ‘Magpie Heart’ and ‘Exit Strategy’, it is undeniably pleasing to find She Makes War still fighting the good fight.
(wears the trousers)
10.03. Freiburg – The Great Räng Teng Teng
11.03. Karlsruhe - Jubez
12.03. Köln - Wohngemeinschaft
13.03. Chemnitz - Aaltra
14.03. Leipzig - Noch Besser Leben
15.03. Jena - BandsPrivat
16.03. Leipzig - Musikhaus Kietz (Recordstore Gig)
17.03. Hamburg - Gängeviertel
18.03. Greifswald - Kulturbar
19.03. Berlin - Untertitel
20.03. Berlin - Schokoladen
21.03. Halle - Hühnermanhattan
22.03. Lüdenscheid - Der Stock / Alte Druckerei
23.03. Offenbach - Hafen 2
27.03. Augsburg - Ganze Bäckerei