Entering a thrilling stage in her career, Marika Hackman is about to present a bold new sound in her upcoming Any Human Friend. Here’s why her supporting gig at Band on the Wall is a must.
Hackman’s folkie 2015 debut, We Slept at Last, brimmed with nuance as the young artist journeyed to the darkest corners of her psyche. Its lyrics revealed an appetite for the grizzly, with perverse animalistic imagery and bewitching tales of lovers’ rotting corpses. Such preternatural lyrics were paired with more traditional arrangements: whisper-pitched vocals and acoustic guitars fortified with sparse percussion and electronics. Produced by Charlie Andres (Alt-J), these finely crafted songs, with their unsettling, twilight atmospheres, amounted to an intriguing debut.
Packed with mega melodies, killer hooks and whip-smart lyrics
It was album number two, though, that felt like Hackman’s proper arrival. Earning raves from The Guardian, Stereogum and Pitchfork, I’m Not Your Man saw the London-based artist cast herself in a bold new light. Backed by London four-piece The Big Moon, she ditched forlorn acoustic guitars for raucous riffs, belting melodies and an unapologetically queer new swagger. “I wanted to let rip and lose control,” Hackman said in a press release. “That’s the kind of music I’ve always wanted to make. When I was younger I wasn’t looking at Joni Mitchell. I was looking at Nirvana thinking, ‘I wanna be like that!”.
One of the best tunes on the record is the bedroom-pop banger ‘My Lover Cindy’ – a snarling ode to modern romance. “’Cause I’m a fucking pig/I’m gonna get my fill/I’m gonna keep my eyes on the prize/And I’ll suck you dry, I will”, goes the chorus. A remark on the instant gratification in every aspect of contemporary life, it’s a god’s honest belter, filled with dark wit. On the earworm scale, it’s beaten only by the swaggering, Britpop-indebted ‘Boyfriend’. Here, Hackman boasts of seducing away a straight guy’s girlfriend – a funny, sexy rebuke to ignorant blokes who think “a woman really needs a man to make her scream”.
Packed with mega melodies, killer hooks and whip-smart lyrics, this album was one of the sharpest of 2018, inevitably begging the question… What next? The answer, it seems, is Marika Hackman 3.0. With a brand new album – Any Human Friend – due on the 9 August, its first single, ‘I’m not where you are’, sounds like nothing the 25-year old’s done before. Sparkly 80’s synthesizers bounce off a power-pop bassline as Hackman’s soaring voice picks at the scars of broken relationships. Evidence of a thrilling new stage in her artistic life, this track suggest a glorious new album, and, we assume, a glorious accompanying tour. Don’t miss this exciting artist hitting full stride at Band on the Wall this September.