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

Single Review – Marika Hackman – My Lover Cindy

British singer/songwriter Marika Hackman’s new single ‘My Lover Cindy’ following ‘Boyfriend’ continues her ’90s alt-rock vocal style, with its Laura Marling effortless air of cool indifference, present in her her debut album ‘We Slept At Last’, back in 2015. Recently signed to Sub-Pop Hackman’s second album ‘I’m Not Your Man’ is set for release on June 2nd. The album according to Hackman 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.’ New single ‘My Lover Cindy’ appears to be the epitome of these ideas. Woven with the non-committal sharp tongue of many millennial relationships Hackman’s new single is a mix of driving lines – opening ‘If I was a liar I would call you my friend, let’s hope the feeling mutual in the end’, subtle warmth – helped by backing harmonies contributed by The Big Moon.The singles themes, as Hackman states, are a comment, ‘on the way we can dispose of one another, how sex can be a throwaway thing which can lead to a terror of falling out of love with people and a distrust of your own emotions. The themes of sexual fluidity are ongoing throughout the song.’ With its range of honest vocal attacks, ‘My Lover Cindy’ is sure to hook Marika new fans. 

Hayley Miller 

This Weeks Music Video with Lorde, Future Islands, Marika Hackman, Ahonhi and Sylvan Esso 

Single Review – Marika Hackman – Boyfriend 

Marika Hackman returns with what is seemingly the follow up material from her debut 2015 album We Slept At Last. It was a solid if not spectacular debut with subtle Indie tracks across the album. Her new track sees Marika take her sound down the path of a natural evolution with similar loose riffs, but at a higher volume and with a distorted guitar part to supplement it. Her lyrics are sharper as they tell of interruptions from particularly meatheaded guys who want to join in whilst she’s kissing someone. These lyrics go hand in hand with the more charged sound whilst her vocals still gently idle from one line to another albeit it with a greater projection. Certainly an interesting development from an artist with much potential.

Owen Riddle 

Tegan and Sara – Love You To Death Review

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They may be known as the most recognisable identical twins in music or even for their great work with LGBT activism, but despite this, Tegan and Sara have always let the music do their talking. With their eight studio album Love You To Death, they look to do the same. They’re quite simply massive in their hometown of Calgary and across Canada, the US and Australia. This success hasn’t been as easy to come by in the UK and the rest of Europe, but with a reinforced Pop direction, they’ll be looking to replicate their success across the oceans.

The lead single from the album is ‘Boyfriend’ and it is one giant Pop punch in the face to give you a visual aid. With anyone else this would sound hopeless and random, but they draw out and tease the song along in places in order to maximise the popping rhythms and melodies. From these bolstered hooks come their highly infectious harmonies which function in perfect unity with  the instrumentation around them. It is without doubt one with the best Pop songs of the year and with it comes emotional lyrical content. ‘U-Turn’ features buoyant synths and skipping riffs that are underpinned by a steady dropping beat. Again their unified vocals are perfectly matched for the sounds around them and again they refine these sounds in parts in order to draw out a stronger chorus. This leaves a outrageously catchy track for everyone to sing along to.

With ‘100x’ they look to embrace the Pop-tinged swooning ballad and spacious piano chords are certainly the order of the day here. The power vocals are the only thing tinged with a hint of production influence with a slight skip and whilst nothing spectacular, it demonstrates their vocal skill and is a sign of their own versatility. ‘Stop Desire’ is filled with rumbling bass lines and spacious elecronica with close vocals. ‘That Girl’ is a typical piano-Pop track in the verses, but with a chorus that flourishes into light and power. ‘Faint of Heart’ is a cheesy ballad with their vocal rounds working brilliantly to hammer home the infectious nature of the track. The album falls down on a few tracks due to more simple lyrics and stale sounds such as the the final track on the album. These things prevent it being a perfect Pop album. It full of energy and is cleverly manipulated and moulded to accentuate every layer of the songs. For the most part, the lyrics offer up a striking vulnerability that add yet another dimension to their pepped up Pop. Beyond that it is just a fun album and won’t get old quickly.

Tegan and Sara – Love You To Death = 8/10

 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Tegan and Sara – 100x

Perhaps the most prolific identical twins in music have been quite busy of late, churning out three singles and videos in a relatively short space of time. These singles are from their impending eighth studio album Love You To Death (Out June 3rd). With it, they look to push their current Pop influences even further and ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘U-Turn’ have been wonderfully open and indulgent pieces of Pop. With ‘100x’ they look to embrace the Pop-tinged swooning ballad and spacious piano chords are certainly the order of the day here. The power vocals are the only thing tinged with a hint of electronica and whilst nothing spectacular, it demonstrates their vocal skill and is a sign of their own versatility.

Owen Riddle

This Weeks Music Video with Florence + The Machine, Tegan and Sara, Azealia Banks, Braids and Islands