Direction Of Travel was recorded in the winter months of 2014/15 in Bristol, Brighton and London. Produced by She Makes War, mixed by Dan Austin (Doves, Pixies) and featuring guest appearances from Tanya Donelly and Mark Chadwick, most of the instruments on the album were played by Laura herself, added to by a cast of supporting musician friends including Clive Deamer and Andy Sutor on drums, The McCarricks and Nicole Robson on strings and Cajita on piano.
As with all things, there are two sides to the story. ‘Drown Me Out’, ‘In Cold Blood’ and ‘Alone’ combine an unabashed love of 90s alt-rock with the gothic undertones of Sisters Of Mercy and early Echo & The Bunnymen. ‘Time To Be Unkind’ (featuring Mark Chadwick) and ‘The Best’ blend melancholy ukulele, cello and piano with a tearstained lead vocal and killer harmonies to deliver the bittersweetest Dear John letters to their anonymous but undeserving miscreants. At the bursting heart of the album sit ‘Stargazing’ and ‘Paper Thin’ (featuring Tanya Donelly); the former unashamedly sharing Laura’s lowest point – “I don’t believe anybody any more” – and the latter contemplating a period of personal reflection and ultimately redemption – “All this is ours…let’s do amazing things with good hearts.”
The songs on Direction Of Travel reveal widescreen ambition, deepening the glittery, grunge-inflected guitar driven sound of She Makes War’s back catalogue while exploring new worlds of cinematic orchestration and heartfelt, confessional songwriting. The songs vibrate with sadness but the album’s message is hopeful – we can all become strong enough to reclaim ourselves, to escape from suffocating situations, process sadness and sorrow and emerge all the stronger for the experience.
At the end of 2015, She Makes War teased listeners with the release of five track EP Disarm:15, which received praise from the likes of The Line of Best Fit, Gigwise and Songwriting Magazine. Laura has also received support from BBC 6Music’s Lauren Laverne and Tom Robinson and has toured with artists such as tUnE-yArDs, Gruff Rhys, Nadine Shah and Suede.
Direction Of Travel is out on April 8th 2016 (online) and April 29th 2016 (physical) via The state51 Conspiracy.