Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man Review 

British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Marika Hackman’s new album ‘I’m Not Your Man’ see’s her moving away from the alt-folky simplicity of her 2015 debut ‘We Slept At Last’ and towards a raucous sound, bristling with gender themes, scathing lyrics and a humour that bites to the very heart of modern culture. 

Opener ‘Boyfriend’ sets the playful tone of Hackman’s second full album perfectly. Beginning with a moment of laughter, the grungy track centres around a woman supposedly stealing away a girlfriend from her male partner, as he can’t possibly imagine how she could be content in a lesbian relationship. A mocking of societies heteronormative outlook and an unpicking of female sexuality is laced throughout ‘I’m Not Your Man’ in Hackman’s sharply tongued honesty and raw wit, reflecting people like Courtney Barnett and Liz Phair. Hackman’s tender fragility continues in indie festival ready, and effortlessly breezy, ‘My Lover Cindy’, where her 90’s alt-rock edge shines through a laid-back Laura Marling style vocal as well as backing harmonies contributed by The Big Moon. 

Things aren’t all raucously tumultuous though as calmer elements creep into the sultry air, enveloping tracks like ‘Good Intentions’, which opens in Alt-J intricacy before blasting into dissonance, ‘Gina’s World’, and the cavernous ‘So Long’ as well as the ripplingly sultry ‘Violet’, continuing themes of breakup angst amongst Hackman’s shoegazer grunge. Showing not every chord has to be slap across the face, aggression is displayed in a heartbreaking style within subtly haunting, dust-bowl shattering tracks like ‘Apple Tree’, ‘I’d Rather Be with Them’ and ‘AM’, each echoing First Aid Kit style anguish. 

It’s not only prickling menace that is shown in different forms but also indecisive self-loathing. While introverted ‘Round We Go’ tortures in self-contemplation, also evident in latest single ‘Cigarette’s – a brutally awkward smouldering where Hackman’s delicate acoustic guitar plucking and sparsely intense emotional phrases encapsulate the tension between two people arguing in a car-park, the perils of ageing are examined in the playful playground antics of ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ and ‘East Bound Train’, as The Cure meets New Order whisper behind Hackman’s PJ Harvey style cruel-edged vocal. 

Donning a sharp suit and matching tongue Hackman has crafted an album that doesn’t shy away from adult angst and sexuality. According to Hackman ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is; ‘all about female relationships, romance, and breakdowns, but there’s also a dim worldview going on. I’m Not Your Man can either mean, ‘I’m not your man, I’m your woman,’ or it can mean, ‘I’m not a part of this.’ 

Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man = 8/10

Hayley Miller

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