Muncie Girls – ‘Fixed Ideals’

By Andy Joice

Inspiration comes from different places. For Exeter trio Muncie Girls, their inspiration comes from literature. Much like their debut album ‘From Caplin To Belsize’, they’ve taken the name of new album ‘Fixed Ideals’ from a Sylvia Plath quote.

Whilst the lyrical content is an extension of their previous album, melding political and social observations with deeply personal and relatable stories, there’s a progression musically. With vocalist and bassist Lande Hekt adding additional guitar parts, there’s a layer of intricacy evident throughout the whole record. Hekt, accompanied by guitarist Dean McMullen and drummer Luke Ellis, has managed to evolve their sound without changing it entirely.

Always honest and heartfelt, the record opens with ‘Jeremy’, a self-confessed fuck you to Hekt’s dad, “a right wing guy who denied my existence and refused to support my mum in any way.” Although the lyrics aren’t overly positive, with Hekt referencing being the only child her father avoided, it doesn’t come across as completely bitter or resentful.

First single ‘Picture Of Health’ is an ode to solidarity within friendships. Supporting those close to you who’re suffering internally and expecting the same treatment when you’re neglecting yourself. An upbeat jaunt, it’ll almost certainly become a staple within Muncie Girls’s top tracks.

Mental health is a recurring theme throughout the album. While ‘Last Laugh’ is Hekt’s attempt to cheer up her long-suffering friends, ‘Clinic’ reflects on her own battles with anxiety, her road to recovery with CBT, and addresses the waiting times to be seen by mental health specialists. It’s obviously a subject that Hekt feels strongly about and, when you’re known as a socially conscious punk band, it’s absolutely right that she brings attention to it.

‘Fixed Ideals’ is wholly more personal than their debut, and second single ‘Falling Down’ gives us another example of this. Dealing with the effects alcohol have the morning after and the ‘crumbling of the day’, Hekt, who’s been sober for a year, is pensive about the wasted time and how it isn’t a necessity in life. This track in particular shows the strength of adding additional guitar parts to their sound, creating a jaunty yet memorable singalong chorus. ‘Hangover’ also deals with drinking to deal with personal problems, albeit it in a more tender way.

It’s often difficult to follow up a debut album, with many bands suffering from the proverbial “second album syndrome”. And not all albums are as captivating or well regarded as ‘From Caplan To Belsize’. It was always going to be difficult for Muncie Girls to follow it up, however, with ‘Fixed Ideals’ they’ve all but surpassed expectations – creating a deeply personal, more delicate record. It resonates perfectly and is sure to cement them as one of the most interesting, intellectual British bands within the genre.

ANDY JOICE

Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Blood Youth / Palm Reader / Lotus Eater @ Boston Music Rooms, London

American Football - 'LP3'

Blaqk Audio - 'Only Things We Love'