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Album reviews with Ian Sinclair: October 11, 2021

New releases from Ducks Ltd, She Drew The Gun and Home In This World: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads (Various Artists)

She Drew The Gun
Behave Myself
(Submarine Cat Records)
★★★★

A PROUD socialist feminist hailing from Birkenhead, on her new record Louisa Roach — She Drew The Gun — kicks up a revolutionary storm.

Over gutsy electro-pop recorded by Ross Orton (The Fall, Arctic Monkeys), she targets corruption, abuse, inequality, the patriarchy and the ruthless ruling class.

Next On The List includes an intense roll call of all the marginalised groups scapegoated by the Tories, while the rocky Cut Me Down is inspired by Las Tesis, the Chilean feminist group protesting against violence against women.

“Fuck the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, we need a war of forest fires and a war on floods … on the parasitic vampires sucking our blood,” she sings on Class War (How Much).

Sloganeering and radical with some great songwriting and hooks, Behave Myself is a refreshingly rebellious rush of political pop.

Ducks Ltd
Modern Fiction
(Carpark Records)
★★★★

LIKE many of the “jangle-pop” indie bands they take after, the first record from Ducks Ltd is an infectious burst of youthful energy and melancholy.

Concerning “friendships with people who are physically distant,” How Lonely Are You? is a timely opener, having been recorded between Canada where singer and guitarist Tom McGreery lives, and Australia, where Evan Lewis (guitar, bass and drum programming) is based.

Though their PR highlight the influence of ’80s bands like The Go-Betweens and Felt, I hear more contemporary influences.

Single 18 Cigarettes, apparently inspired by a performance of Don’t Go Away by Oasis, sounds a lot like The Drums, while Fit To Burst’s sunny exuberance wouldn’t feel out of place on any Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever album.

“It’s computer music trying extremely hard not to sound like computer music,” McGreery says.

A thrilling debut.

Various Artists
Home In This World: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads
(Parlophone)
★★★

IN 1940 US folksinger Woody Guthrie released Dust Bowl Ballads. Giving a voice to the migrants heading west to escape the dust, drought and economic hardship of the Midwest in the 1930s, it’s considered one of the first concepts albums ever recorded.

Eighty-one years later and movie music supervisor and producer Randall Poster has curated a tribute record, endorsed by Guthrie’s estate.

Many of the contributors, like Shovels and Rope and John Paul White, give faithful renditions of Guthrie’s earthy folk.

Lee Ann Womack lends her big country voice to Dusty Old Dust, indie rising star Waxahatchee does some great talk-singing on Talking Dust Bowl Blues and Chris Thile plays brilliant mandolin on Tom Joad Part 1.

With its warnings of environmental disaster, damaging agricultural practices and a profiteering capitalist class, Dust Bowl Ballads still has much to teach us.

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