Marika Hackman
Big Sigh


3.9
excellent

Review

by jesper STAFF
January 13th, 2024 | 25 replies


Release Date: 01/12/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: i want to rearrange you

Big Sigh feels familiar. Familiarity is a strange concept: in spite of its positive connotations, inherently negative feelings like pain and anxiety are highly familiar to most of us - and yet, familiarity seems desirable. From its very first track, Marika Hackman's new album is tangibly comfortable navigating such contrasting feelings, even if this comfort is derived from years of discomfort.

At its core, Big Sigh is a very good indie folk record. It's catchy and hooky in a low-key manner, it features brief brushes with more extravagant instrumentation, but above all, its songwriting is consistently excellent. At first, opening cut “The Ground”s two minutes of unwavering abstraction appears to be a red herring; especially as the subsequent “No Caffeine” constitutes both the kind of tune that feels like you've known for years as well as one of the most intriguing list-songs of recent times. However, the explicitly strange opener starts making more sense as Big Sigh unfolds and reveals its contradictory nature. The skeleton of almost every song is highly recognisable, affording the experience a warm, inviting atmosphere - one that Hackman is intent on bending, stretching, and, ever so gently, breaking.

The cracks in Big Sigh’s fabric can be found throughout the album. It's in the themes of entrapment explored by the gentle “Hanging”, eventually embodied by its contextually abrasive conclusion. It's in the way “Please Don't Be So Kind” takes a simple tale of heartbreak and twists it into an equally simplistic and emotive piece that expands upon itself with each repeated line. It's in the way each explored theme contains, at the very least, traces of anguish and desperation, presented in inviting and deceptively accessible packages. Most notably, the mesmerising contrasts of Big Sigh can be found in how the mostly abstractly electronic “Vitamins” embodies a genuine meditation on (self-)hatred and is followed by the oddly funny opening lines of indie pop-banger “Slime”, the most playful and catchy moment of the album.

Ultimately, Big Sigh lives and dies by its familiarity. It's an inviting listen and rather easy to enjoy the album's recognisable and unique elements alike - and yet, it's also easy to acknowledge that it could have benefitted from being more expansive. While the album does feel fairly boundless in scope due to its many small sonic experiments, it also kind of ends after 35 minutes: there’s no grand reveal, conclusion, or climax to the overall experience. Perhaps that’s part of the point, though, but it’s hard not to feel like there could be a little more to Big Sigh, a little more to Hackman. Regardless, there is a lot to be found in this excellent album if you allow it some time, give it some space and, while it may not be as easy as it seems, embrace its familiarity.




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user ratings (42)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2024


5423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

happy new year this thing rules

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2024


32013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Big sigh of relief that this is reviewed.



And by no other than the Jesp himself. Great read Jesper, agree on all fronts.

Pangea
January 13th 2024


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review love marika will check this

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2024


5423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thanks guys < 3

hope u vibe pan wanna go see her live?

Pangea
January 13th 2024


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'll be on vacation during her show unfort :/



saw her a few years ago though, great show

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2024


60160 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice, digging into this atm



there's something about her writing choices since her debut that tends to walk the line between aloof and bland, and her last two records minus "Cigarette" passed me by as such though neither is band; would have been interested to see her songwriting given a careful inspection here, but ig one-size-fits-all remarks on familiarity will do that legwork for u

cylinder
January 13th 2024


2300 Comments


Oh cool. I still need to hear Any Human Friend too. Guess I was wary cuz I wasn’t really into the direction she went after the debut

Slex
January 13th 2024


16425 Comments


Excited to check this, last one was sick

Review is handsome and based pos'd

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2024


5423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thx slexy :]

yeah fair johnny, though i do feel like her songwriting is consistent and consistently solid enough to an almost unremarkable degree when isolated/taken out of contexts? idk

Zac124
January 14th 2024


2567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this was pretty good. i can see this growing on me more.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2024


5812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review - sadly, I find most of this pleasant but forgettable (No Caffeine is a jam though).

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
January 15th 2024


1697 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review Jesper! Please Don't Be So Kind is my song of the year so far; such a devastating track.

zaruyache
January 17th 2024


27329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is on my list, track I heard sounded p good men/

Pangea
January 17th 2024


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool stuff, a little bit different for her and closer to the debut vibe which is my favourite marika

DoofDoof
January 17th 2024


14937 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

way too bland I found, bit of a snoozy suzy

lkpbronski
January 18th 2024


3 Comments


Great review, I really like “No Caffeine” but have to check out the rest of the album.

MunsuLight
January 19th 2024


718 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is too formulaic and bland but at the same time it is such a pleasant listen



No Caffeine is so good though

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2024


5423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thx gang, glad no caffeine is hitting the spot! love that song but please don't be so kind is my top pick, soty until further notice lol

dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 6th 2024


12773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

woah i missed dis



always cool to read you jespy!! this record is aight and all but very rarely goes wow - no caffeine hits the spot hard indeed

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2024


5423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

love u dedex!

this is rly holding up for me thus far, only song i don't really care for is the closer but man that blood climax and all of plz don't be so kind are pure magic



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