Dreams From The Factory Floor
The debut album from England’s Louise Distras is making a lot of people around the world sit up and take notice of the songwriter being described as “the 21st century Joe Strummer who personifies punk rock spirit and renegade soul”. The twelve tracks of Dreams From The Factory Floor really show her ability to channel her passion into some damn fine songwriting. Having seen her live, I can tell you that the songs and her tendency to wield her guitar like a deadly weapon, makes you want to pay attention to what she’s saying. Because she has something to say, and it’s worth listening to.
The album taken as a whole stands as a battle cry against intolerance, injustice, inequality and those who fuck it up for the rest of us. It is an undoubtedly aggressive record, but Louise’s vocals add a tenderness and humanity that show that protest, acoustic punk music is very much alive and kicking in the UK. Targeting subjects like domestic abuse, gay rights, political apathy and the reality-show fueled narcissistic media, the lyrics don’t hold back in both their scathing critique of society and a message of empowerment to those most affected. Ultimately, it’s a positive message about unity and community, wrapped in music that at points made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Stand out tracks include album opener “Stand Strong Together,” which was released earlier this year with all benefits going to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a nonprofit that works against violence aimed at people from alternative subcultures. It’s a great choice for album opener and really sets the scene for what comes next. “The Hand You Hold” is a singalong anthem for anyone who has ever wanted to be judged on who they are, rather than their appearance, “What we look like means more to you than what we say and what we do”. Never let the hand you hold, hold you down is an epithet that should be taught in schools. Here it comes with ferocious acoustic guitar accompaniment. Another stand out is album title track Dreams From The Factory Floor, a spoken word protest song, delivered as fist raising violent poetry. The anger in Louise’s vocals is evident in this tale of the universal struggle of those of us who have to work for a living, and the people that make the profit from our labor.
As an artist who is completely 100% DIY, she has clearly worked hard at producing a record that remains true to herself as a musician and as a person. The finished result is brimming with honesty, heart and hope, with provocative lyrics that should make you think. It deserves to get the attention that its release is getting. You won’t hear another album like it this year. (Hannah McFaull)
Recommended for fans of: Billy Bragg, TV Smith, Atilla the Stockbroker, Frank Turner, Jenny Woo
Purchase Dreams From The Factory Floor here: