This is a review of "Heart Strings on a Hand Grenade" recorded by Louise Distras. The review was written by Matt Bentley in 2011.
I reviewed Louise's last EP, and my only major complaint then was that the whole thing seemed a little bare - a bit thin if you will - for the style of music she plays. Well, she's sorted that right out on 'Heart Strings an a Hand Grenade.'
The EP opens with 'Bullets' which is a fast-paced, multi-layered vocal, multi-layered guitar, incidentally-percussive, acoustic-punk attack! Basically, as many hyphens you can fit into a sentence. It's just a much richer sound than the last EP, and that makes for a much more pleasurable listen. Then there's also the fact that all the songs on display seem more well written than before, but I'll get on to them forthwith!
All in all then, the ante has been well and truly upped! So far, so angry...
Track two is called 'This Is Your Life;' I kind of hope it's not my life though, as it all sounds a bit upsetting. I like a nice cup of tea and maybe a biscuit in my life, more often than not, and I'm not sure where my brew and biccie fit in here! Having said that, the chorus seems like a nice "get to fuck" to whosoever is the subject matter (I wouldn't want to be them!). I can relate to that; I like telling people to "get to fuck" almost as much as I like tea and biscuits. My life is an endless contradiction of dichotomies, but I digress.
Anywho... it's a bit of a slower paced number is track two - until the chorus kicks in that is - and it's a nice one to wang in the middle of the EP. It seems to involve a much straighter guitar sound and no percussion as far as I can hear; the luscious multi-tracked vocals are still there in abundance though. I think I said on the last review that Distras didn't have a great voice, but that she used it well. I'm wavering a little in that view - I think she has a great voice for what she does! Now that it has been captured correctly and layered, it's being put to its best use: brutal in places (quite rightly so) and yet truly haunting in others... which is a big ask for punk!
The final track is called 'The Black And Blue.' Now, just before I started writing this paragraph, my beer fired half its contents across the floor! I didn't drop it... I didn't shake it... I just opened it and it fizzed all over the place! I can't decide whether I'm more pissed off about the floor or losing half my beer, but I'll try not to let my bitter disappointment (geddit) affect the rest of the review.
The pace picks up again on this last track, and there's also some whistling, which is a bit of a boon. I think it might be about Wakefield, or maybe a person in Wakefield. Either way, the premise is that the town won't change its tune, and that that tune will beat you black and blue. I like that: it's the most cheerful sounding melody on the album (especially with the whistling), but the lyrics are utterly nihilistic:
You scan a picture and it's a sunny landscape with laughing children; you look at the picture properly and you notice the gallows in the background with small stick-figure bodies left out for the crows.
You half-watch the film and it's a ridiculous comedy of idiots; you pay attention and it's a dark social commentary on voyeurism.
It gives the song layers and - as does Shrek - I like onions... I mean layers.
So yeah: give this EP a purchase in one way or another. It's a chuffing belter.