Marika Hackman is not your typical alternative rocker. Tenacious and rebellious, her debut album, We Slept at Last, caught the attention of many with its surreal mixture of bittersweet folk-rock and music that defies classification completely. On her second album, Hackman has opened up further, and created another surprising record that is a treat for both fans and newcomers.
The title of the album speaks directly to the themes that are recurrent throughout the project: namely, femininity and sexuality. In the opening track ‘Boyfriend’, Hackman airs the frustration she feels with society’s view of lesbian relationships as she sings, “It’s fine ’cause I am just a girl / It doesn’t count / He knows a woman needs a man to make her shout’. Hackman delivers her irritation with a passionately fierce and emotive swagger, making it an instant favourite.
Other standout tracks include ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ and ‘My Lover Cindy’. The former has a mid-90s Brit rock feel to it – think Blur or Supergrass. This is particularly felt in the chorus of the track, as Hackman’s unapologetic tones are pitted against the chants of The Big Moon. The theme of this track is similar to ‘My Lover Cindy’, where she exposes her difficulty in committing to relationships and her tendency to get bored easily.
However, whilst these tracks portray Hackman as emotionless and frosty, songs such as ‘Eastbound Train’ and ‘I’d Rather Be with Them’ reveal Hackman’s vulnerability. Her portrayal of a guarded woman is a recurrent motif throughout the project, and rings true in a world where the only way to survive is to become numb to damaging external factors. I’m Not Your Man demonstrates this in the cleverest way, and with her fierce and bold vulnerability, Hackman proves that she has well and truly arrived – and is here to stay.
I’m Not Your Man is out now on AMF Records/Universal Music.
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Image: Steve Gullick