Louise Distras – ‘Beauty After Bruises’


The second album from Yorkshire-based Louise Distras, Beauty After Bruises struts a stellar rock sound with resonating themes regarding self-appreciation and personal growth.

“I’d say the major differences between the first album and this one, emotionally, is that I felt at that time in my life like I was looking outwards, and saying, ‘here’s what’s wrong with me, here’s what’s wrong with the world. And it’s the world’s fault. It’s the world that’s doing it to me,’” Distras explains. “But with Beauty After Bruises, I’m looking inwards. I’m saying, ‘Well, the way I see the world is actually because of the way that I see myself.

The opening “Truth In Your Lies” enthralls with its initial composure, emitting a bass-led excitement amidst vocals expressing apprehension about an ongoing situation. “You say we will stay together, you say we were always meant to be,” Distras lets out. The soaring, hook-packed chorus — remarking “I can see the truth,” — dazzles in its melodic allure, as does the catching “dark road to my heart,” bridge.

The track’s themes reference San Francisco, whose role as “a nerve centre of cultural and artistic activity awash with gurus, philosophers, preachers, cults and religions,” can provide beauty, but also accommodate for predatory personality types, per Distras. “I wrote this song about finally moving on from the Spiral Staircase…”

Direct in its self-appreciating affirmations, “Girl in the Mirror” rouses with its escalating fervency, culminating in a jangly charm during the title-touting refrain. Lyrical themes prove stirring in emphasizing the importance of one getting out of their own way, embracing a form of self-love instead of bitterness projected at perceived weaknesses. These triumphant, resonating lyrics pair with jangly guitars and rising structural composure for a standout success.

With more emotive immediacy, “Factory Girl” channels a charismatic rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia with its bursting guitars and invigorated vocals; the harmonica feelings and suave guitar affections play with particularly entrancing impact into the second minute. Beauty After Bruises is chock full of tonal versatility, and even on more balanced/steady rock presentations like “Factory Girl” the songwriting is thoroughly compelling.

Another standout, “Broken Mondays” ushers in a reassuring, bright rock ferocity that emphasizes “everything’s gonna be alright,” even within a life that feels like a string of broken Mondays strewn together. “What if there is no god to cleanse your soul?” the vocals ask, furthering themes of self-reliance and the importance of self-love, as explored with punchy eloquence on “Girl in the Mirror,” as well.

The subsequent track, “Hollywood Drug,” remains in a consistent thematic engrossment as well, reiterating “she’s slowly losing faith,” prior to the erupting chorus. There’s a pulsating rock charisma reminiscent of ’90s-era Manic Street Preachers throughout this gem. The concluding “do you wanna be someone else?” power also shows a more modern shine, a la Wolf Alice.

Louise Distras presents a stirring rock sound throughout Beauty After Bruises, whose themes resonate in ranging from loving your own reflection to being wary of predatory relationships. Alongside the memorable lyrical content exists a standout rock sound with an abundance of hooks and rousing structural builds.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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