Can we declare an indie-pop state of emergency? Yes? Good. Sound the alarms then. Step down, all you beard-oil man bands of yore. We are now entering Marika Hackman country. Her new record Any Human Friend sees her not so much as ‘return’ but glide in on a parade float having triumphed in the Great Indie Wars. Okay, we’re making ourselves giddy here. But the point stands: Marika Hackman is sharper and somehow more unapologetically herself than ever.
On ‘Any Human Friend’ she burrows deeper under her own skin, stepping over the outer boundary of what was previously a comfort zone. ‘all night’ reclaims sex between women from the fetishistic male gaze, harmonic and sweet but truthful about - and taking rightful ownership of - queer female intimacy. Later, the outstandingly titled ‘hand solo’ is just as blunt, its bristling guitars and Marika’s glam vocal turning a surprising song about solo sex into an all-out banger. This is an all-in type of deal, so in some places, Marika addresses particularly painful topics. ‘send my love’ stems from internalised shame, while the tremendous ‘i’m not where you are’ describes dismantling an emotional connection after the breakdown of a relationship.
Frankly, ‘Any Human Friend’ is all bangers, all the time. The Blondie-esque ‘the one’ is by Marika’s own account likely the most ‘pop’ song she’s ever written, but there is not a single low point on the album. Really, we’re not exaggerating here. Marika Hackman for President of Everything.