Review by Caitlin Webb
Indie punk band Muncie Girls made their eagerly awaited return at the end of last month with their sophomore album ‘Fixed Ideals.’ Known for their poetic influences and outspoken lyrics, the album promises to push the envelope of their style even more, with frontwoman Lande Hekt describing the record’s songs as some of the most personal she’s written.
This trend towards personal songwriting is clear straight away from opening track ‘Jeremy’, with lyrics detailing the complex emotions behind growing up with an absentee father figure. Despite the difficult subject matter it’s not all doom and gloom, with Hekt’s delivery bringing a tone of optimism and resilience to the track as well as the inevitable feelings of anger and hurt. She matches the lively spirit of the song’s 90s-esque slacker rock vibes; although her voice can be overpowered by the powerful riffs at rare points, the track overall is full of energy bite.
‘Picture of Health’ picks up the pace further and passes with flying colours. Not only does it maintain the youthful spirit of the previous track, it’s brought to life with brilliant moments like the evocative slowed-down bridge and the deeply catchy chorus with subtle backing vocals building up a supportive atmosphere. It introduces one of the album’s key lyrical themes of mental health with emotional sensitivity and charm that really marks it above the pack. ‘Clinic’ also carries these ideas with witty social commentary that highlights the human costs of austerity and NHS cuts. It’s a touch more melancholic because of this, but in a way that’s hard not to connect with.
As well as being a shining example of confessional songwriting, the album also proves the variety Muncie Girls are capable of. Tracks like ‘Hangovers’ that put the band’s songwriting style inside a softer, Autumnal sort of acoustic sound sit alongside their typical clean-cut indie stylings. ‘Bubble Bath’ and ‘Fig Tree’ prove their capacity for creative imagery, the former perfectly encapsulating the promotion of self-care and support within multiple of the album’s tracks.
Closing track ‘Family of Four’ neatly ties the album’s musings on relationships and mental health in a poignant bow. It’s predominantly an anthem for the working class that doesn’t shy away from the true hardships of life under austerity, but has enough witty writing to make it connect with any listener as well as put a little light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to be struggling yourself to relate to this album’s bearing of the soul, you just have to open your mind to its stories.
‘Fixed Ideals’ is out now from Specialist Subject Records in the UK & Europe and Buzz Records in North America. Find them on Facebook and
FIXED IDEALS UK HEADLINE TOUR:
(with support from The Hard Aches)
Wed 26 Sep 2018 Manchester The Deaf Institute
Thu 27 Sep 2018 Birmingham The Cuban Embassy
Fri 28 Sep 2018 Nottingham Rock City Basement
Sat 29 Sep 2018 Newcastle The Think Tank – Underground
Sun 30 Sep 2018 Glasgow The Garage – Attic
Mon 1 Oct 2018 London Borderline
Tue 2 Oct 2018 Norwich The Waterfront
Wed 3 Oct 2018 Southampton The Joiners