Marika Hackman signalled her intention to abandon the nu-folk of her 2015 debut album with ‘Boyfriend’. The lead single from the Leonard Cohen-punning ‘I’m Not Your Man’, it opens with a hearty laugh before its shimmering guitars wrap around ’90s alt-rock hooks. There’s a similar directness to the track’s sardonic lyrics, with the animalistic metaphors of yore replaced with no-nonsense sexuality (“He knows a woman needs a man to make her shout“).
It’s a shameless stab at grungy indie-pop that’s continued on the girl group “sha-la-las” on ‘My Lover Cindy’ and ‘Eastbound Train’, while the infectious chorus on ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ is Hinds covering Nirvana.
Tremendous fun, they warrant the London-based musician’s decision to employ The Big Moon as her backing band on a number of tracks. Yet if their influence is a little too transparent at times, the transition to a raucous sound is more nuanced than this suggests.
‘Round We Go’ and ‘Cigarette’ sit at Warpaint’s hazy juncture of shoegaze, marking a continuum with her erstwhile dreamy, minimalistic compositions. Closing track ‘I’d Rather Be With Them’, meanwhile, could have been an outtake from debut LP ‘We Slept At Last’ if it wasn’t for the self-deprecating yet unapologetic assertion that she’s “so fucking heartless.”
It’s a statement that this album roundly contradicts, being warm-hearted and emotionally liberated throughout.