It’s probably possible to dislike a record that opens with the lyric, “I’m so angry, I’m going to get a tattoo, that says ‘fuck Jeremy Clarkson, and fuck you too” but not on this watch it isn’t. In case it passed you by, Exeter trio Muncie Girl’s 2016 debut ‘From Caplan To Belsize’ was one of the most special indie rock records to emerge in an age. It was a record that recalled all manner of bands from an era when indie rock was called college rock (Veruca Salt, Throwing Muses, Buffalo Tom to name but three) and succeeded in every song delivering the feeling of a close friend leaning into your ear and telling you a secret. Muncie Girls were part of a gang of British bands who were of a similar ilk (Doe, Personal Best, Happy Accidents to name another three) who shared similar musical aesthetics and political concerns. Oh man, it’s a shame if that passed you by. It was ace. For a while it felt like Seattle in the ’90s.
At the fulcrum of its brilliance was singer/bassist Lande Hekt, whose lyrical observations bounced from feminism, to Sylvia Plath, to the sort of political awaking that occurs when you realise you’ve spent a decade at school and you haven’t really learned anything of very much importance at all. This time round, there’s a more coherent theme to Lande’s songs. She’s largely concerned with the concept of health, largely of the mental variety. ‘Clinic’ will be familiar to anyone who’s ever woken up with a head feeling like a test site for Trident, only to be told by the doctor’s receptionist “there’ll be a three week wait”. Then there’s the frenzied ‘Picture Of Health’ which not only shares the viewing platform for the abyss with the aforementioned number, but serves as the best argument for fuzz pedals to be given out free to children we’ve heard all year. You’ve probably got a pretty good idea what songs like ‘Laugh Again’ and ‘Falling Down’ are about. Not that it’s relentless horror. The song ‘Bubble Bath’ uses actual bubbles as a musical instrument of sorts.
The pop racist Morrissey once accused someone of breaking into his room “just to steal [his] diary”. You don’t need to do that if you want to read Lande Hekt’s. It’s all here. It’s all fascinating. Inspiring. Warm. Funny sometimes. All of it will make you feel better about the fragility of the mind.
Unless of course, you’re Jeremy Clarkson.