Indie-folk transgressive label sweetheart Marika Hackman is back with a daring new approach. Whilst her 2015 debut, the melancholic ‘We Slept At Last’ explored the soulful genres darker sides, Hackman bounces back in 2017 with her brand new sophomore album, ‘I’m Not Your Man’.
Lyrical abilities are hugely in Hackman’s favour. There always seems to be a deeper rooted meaning when looking through a looking-glass and within this record you see how Hackman boldly details on themes such as love and relationships, with a questioning of femininity and sexual identity. The honest yet sarcastic approach to these subjects creates a gripping journey, personally told by Marika herself.
Kicking off the album we have guitar pop masterpiece ‘Boyfriend’. This lively lead single is a burst of fresh energy, bundled with sass and female empowerment. “I’ve got your boyfriend on my mind/ I think he knows you stayed with me last night” she croons, questioning sexual identity alongside growling guitars. Complete with snippets of laughter and squeals, this track certain delivers a sarcastic side. Showing off her brilliantly unique sharp sound follows ‘Good Intentions’, one of the standout tracks in the album. With distorted guitars and powerful percussion, like ‘My Lover Cindy’ the track features fellow friends The Big Moon as Hackman’s backing band.
On ‘Violet’ there is consistent use of sonic elements while following track ‘Cigarette’ is more intimate with only her and an acoustic guitar. However, they both address raw, emotional and extremely visual exploration of a relationship and especially in ‘Violet’ the attention is drawn to explicit references to sex. With a playful guitar-led melody, ‘Violet’ offers Hackman a chance to show off her strong voical line and use of forceful lyrics, “ With my violet eyes/ I’ll make you succumb to my mind”. ‘Cigarette’ comes across as being more of a reflective and calm song which is notably more metaphorical than tracks beforehand, perhaps resembling her previous mellow sound. Disregarding their differences, these two songs blend together so effortlessly it is hard not to listen one after the other.
Later album tracks ‘Blahblahblah’ and ‘I’d Rather Be With Them’ take the favour of having a darker spin on what is heard previously. Reflection of how social media plays a part in today’s society, ‘Blahblahblah’ offers her thoughts. A misleading start with a slow yet almost joyful riff soon begins to crumble into a damaging conclusion. “Ghost town/ Walk among the zombies” Hackman groans, dragging a continuously negative attitude, referencing us all as “brain dead”. ‘I’d Rather Be With Them’ is a haunting end to a despised relationship backed with subtle string instruments to emphasis the despair. The progression from ‘Boyfriend’ to ‘I’d Rather Be With Them’ certainly sees all sides of Marika Hackman.
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Ending with two live performances proves the album to be even more intimate and special. Like reading her personal diary, ’I’m Not Your Man’ undoubtably creates a story. This vivid experience takes us all on a rather feisty trip into Hackman’s mind. ‘I’m Not Your Man’ sees Marika Hackman’s talent shine brighter than before, strongly showing skill, powerful storytelling and a strapping sense of artistic direction. The world now knows who Marika Hackman truly is and she certainly knows exactly what she wants.