Marika Hackman
I'm Not Your Man


4.5
superb

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
June 27th, 2017 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sense your bullshit from my bedroom.

I’m Not Your Man wastes very little time in taking whatever preconceptions the listener may have had of English singer-songwriter Marika Hackman – last seen producing a very twee, very fey, very good record of pastoral indie folk – and setting them completely aflame. “I’ve got your boyfriend on my mind,” she sings in first single “Boyfriend”, all ricocheting, churning ‘90s alt-rock guitar, and Hackman’s throaty whisper: “I think you know she stayed with me last night / I held his world in my hands / I threw it out to see where it would land.” The guitars pick up, tension building towards a delirious release, and, yes, that’s an honest-to-God, swaggering bulldozer of a chorus, punctuated by a knowing wink: “It’s fine cause I am just a girl / ‘it doesn’t count’ / he knows a woman needs a man to make her shout.” That guitar shrieks to a climax of feedback, positively blowing away any memories of 2015’s We Slept At Last. That record positioned Hackman as the next Laura Marling; I’m Not Your Man positions her as a worthy successor to ass-kickers like PJ Harvey or Liz Phair. It’s a beautiful re-imagining of what Hackman is capable of, and by placing her innate melodic gifts in a (Brit)poppier context, establishes her as one of the most distinctive voices in indie today.

Enlisting London quartet the Big Moon as as backing band, I'm Not Your Man rips out Hackman's folk roots and examines them in a harsh yet blindingly colorful light. The haunting fever dream of “Gina’s World” wanders erratically through a shoegaze landscape before exploding into a sunset almost too bright to look at, Hackman’s lyrics toeing the line between hallucination and a very painful truth. As a songwriter, she has never been more assured; where the jangly “My Lover Cindy” echoes Belle & Sebastian and Girls, she subverts the classicism with a wry dose of self-deprecation and a disregard of traditional gender roles that is a hallmark of the record. “But I’m a lousy lover, even if I try / I can go for a couple of weeks and the feeling’s calcified,” she sings, before plunging recklessly ahead anyways: “Cause I’m a fucking pig / I’m gonna get my fill / I’m gonna keep my eyes on the prize / and I’ll suck you dry, I will.”

These widescreen compositions and dedication to a playground sense of looseness, of fun, give Hackman and the Big Moon the opportunity to stretch out for some truly immense choruses, from “So Long’s “ jilted lover thunderously rejecting excuses alongside a cavernous hook (with a caveat: “I’ll keep you in my bed tonight”) to the borderline clichéd sing-along of “Time’s Been Reckless.” Hackman’s voice retains a charming, somewhat removed quality to it all, as if she is narrating these romantic misadventures with a healthy sense of context and a slightly raised eyebrow. On the spare, stormy “Violet,” she relates a sexual adventure with acerbic detachment combined with increasingly violent imagery; when it eventually explodes into a bluesy, snarling catharsis, there’s even something a bit frightening about her total control.

There are traces of We Slept At Last remaining, most notably in the winding, woozy “Round We Go” and its poetic metaphors, and in the Ren Faire-inspired trad-folk of the ethereal “Apple Tree.” This is, however, an almost entirely different record than what came before, swapping a quieter, more embellished sound for a confident and visceral exploration of Hackman’s impulses and fuck-ups. It’s a roiling, overpowering emotional mixture, and it fits right in with what I’m Not Your Man wants to accomplish: a forthright treatise on sexuality and relationships, told with an uncanny sense of comedic timing and a penchant for reaching for the throat with its hooks, arrangements, and, most resoundingly, its lyrics.

Oddly enough, though, it’s the record’s quietest numbers that hit this message home. “Cigarette,” a slight acoustic track about a snapshot in the long course of a relationship’s disintegration, is striking in its unvarnished intimacy. “You’re in the parking lot, I’m in the car; it’s locked / I didn’t want to let you in / when did it get so forced" Drunk by the second course / you’re never gonna let me win / and I tried to hold my tongue / but you, you yanked it from my grip / bathed it in petroleum, lit a cigarette and gave it a kiss.” It’s spartan and shocking in both the accompaniment – only a trace of viola weaves along through the background – and in its emotional nakedness. In closer “I’d Rather Be With Them,” meanwhile, the cocksure and bold narrator of the previous twelve tracks comes face to face with the lies she tells herself to keep moving on. Hackman is mired in decay, “stale tongues” and “smoky spit and heavy lungs” describing a relationship going nowhere, but these cracks refuse to be painted over. “You say: ‘look at the people / crawling like insects / all over the pavements’ / I’d rather be with them / cause I just hate this room, it smells like you,” the chorus goes. “I’m so fucking heartless / I can’t even cry / I’ve opened my body, it’s hollow inside / so ring up my parents / and tell them I’m dead / and say how you left me and fucked with my head / and I just hate your hair, and the clothes you wear / and I just love your hair, and the clothes you wear.” It’s hopelessly torn and confused, all full of bile and regret, piercingly candid and desperately sad. Like the rest of the record, it’s jaw dropping in the images it describes and the feelings it evokes, a black-and-white photograph for the listener to gawk at. That kind of honesty is rare and touching, the appropriate conclusion for a record obsessed with letting it all hang out. Like the rest of I’m Not Your Man, it feels like a privilege to be invited to listen in.




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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2017


11771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn you Soundcloud 30-second previews



"Boyfriend" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyVBFCmTuUM





"Gina's World" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbHZCgmEzQA



"My Lover Cindy" - [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnjk_NGiihw/url]



favorite record of 2017 so far

Digging: Violents and Monica Martin - Awake and Pretty Much Sober

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2017


1919 Comments


goddamit rudy your writing is that good. will check this out, sounds interesting

Dewinged
June 27th 2017


7016 Comments


Fucking lit klap, really good review. You have sold me on this.

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2017


11771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thank u thank u. plz do, her last record was under-appreciated round these parts (thanks to johnnyonthespot for turning me on to that one)

Gnodab
June 27th 2017


106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Her debut was more consistent, but there are a lot of good tracks on this one too. She doesn't get enough attention here, thats for sure.

Azertherion
June 27th 2017


472 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, altought you overrate this way too much.

Digging: Shiina Ringo - Shouso Strip

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2017


11771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah

hesperus
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2017


943 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this had a handful of tracks that were really good, the rest were just okay



great review tho

brandontaylor
June 30th 2017


606 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i love "boyfriend", but i'm not a huge fan of any of the recommended albums/artists so im skeptical if i should check this out.



im listening to "my lover cindy" tho as i write this and while the song doesnt do much for me, the video is one of the best i've seen this year

cylinder
June 30th 2017


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

her debut is one of my favorites of the decade, but i'm honestly nothing but stoked to hear that this has a different sound to it. gotta love when good artists just keep stretching themselves

Digging: Graham Lambkin - Community

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2017


5781 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love the lyrics on this record, and my lover cindy is one hell of an earworm

theBoneyKing
June 30th 2017


13269 Comments


Amazing review per usual Rudy, I wasn't aware of this but you've sold me on it.

Digging: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

cylinder
June 30th 2017


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

boney you heard her debut?

theBoneyKing
June 30th 2017


13269 Comments


Nope, I vaguely remember hearing some good things about it but never checked it out

cylinder
June 30th 2017


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's essentially a folk-rock record, but it's very lush and actually quite dark in places. masterful though, just some beautiful beautiful songs. may be up your alley

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Is her debut rawer than this? This is quite lovely and I like it a lot, but the lushness sometimes makes it feel washed out to me.. still pretty damn great.. and a great review as well!!

Pangea
July 1st 2017


2712 Comments


Excellent review. This is really great

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2017


11771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not sure if i'd say the debut is rawer, but it's a totally different sound

zakalwe
July 2nd 2017


23714 Comments


This slag is useless, absolutely fucking useless. She ever spun Dylans walking down the line? Probaby not she's too busy being an arse.

Digging: Swarms - Black Chapel Sun

Lucid
July 18th 2017


8784 Comments


album is being slept on, many great tunes here. not into how she disrupts the flow with somber songs though, the rocking tracks are the highlights for me (esp. "boyfriend" "good intentions" and "time's been reckless"). hope this spreads by word-of-mouth



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