Band of the Week #0054 - Muncie Girls

MG 2 by Martyna Wisniewska.jpg

There seems to be a trend in the music industry, at the moment, of using your platform to voice opinions about the current state of the world – whether that be about suicide, sexual assault, fragile masculinity or political crises. Muncie Girls have used their second album, ‘Fixed Ideals’, to have their say on the matter.

A constant theme that is explore on ‘Fixed Ideals’ is the struggle to look after yourself, as well as worrying about everyone around you. ‘Picture of Health’ is upbeat and almost tongue-in-cheek; “I’ve been having a hard time looking after myself. You aren’t exactly looking like a picture of health”, whereas ‘Clinic’ is a little bit more anecdotal. With a chorus that is reminiscent of The Breeders, the dreamlike harmonies and bubble-gum guitars are in stark contrast to the lyrics that allude to experiencing anxiety and depression; “panic sets in and I’m so naïve… the sadness washed my skin in a shaking room.

Isn’t Life Funny’ and ‘Bubble Bath” showcase Muncie Girls’ ability to capture the traditional pop-punk sound of telling the tales about struggling with yourself and creating distractingly good, happy music, to divert you from the subject. ‘Bubble Bath’ is one of the highlights of ‘Fixed Ideals’ as it uses a soundbite of bubbles that you could only imagine coming from a cartoon. As self-confessed fans of Sylvia Plath, the song ‘Fig Tree’ comes as no surprise, either. It is fast paced and full of melodic riffs which break up repetitive lyrics that speak of creepy men laughing at sexist jokes and wondering why you leave the house to be in the presence of such horrible people.

Fixed Ideals’ is a very well written album that covers so many important topics, from the effects of too much alcohol, struggling with mental health and trying to figure out your place in the world. We caught up with Muncie Girls, to hear their side of the story.

For those that aren’t yet familiar with you as a band, could you talk us through how you met and what influences your sound? 

We met in school but started Muncie Girls when we began going to shows at our local venue, the Cavern. We were very much influenced by touring bands from Exeter and bands that would come and play. American punk rock bands would play a lot and we basically made it our mission to go on tour. 

You get asked this a lot but with the first album there were a few references to Sylvia Plath. What is it about her that you love so much and apart from the title, are there any references in Fixed Ideals? 

There’s a song on this record called Fig Tree and it’s a reference to a bit in the Bell Jar. I love her confessional style of writing and the way she says outrageously sad things but not in a sad way. I guess it’s partly documenting depression but it’s not depressing, and weirdly I find that hopeful.

The album seems to be anecdotal and kind of takes you through a sentimental journey of growing up and figuring out friendships/relationships. Is this something you specifically try to achieve or does it happen naturally? 

I definitely didn’t mean to write it like that, I just write songs about things that I’m thinking about at the time. It’s hard to know why a lot of the songs are more reflective than ones from the last record! 

Can you talk us through the songwriting process of 'Jeremy' and 'Family of Four'? I see a lot of political angst in the lyrics - which is fitting because of the state of turmoil that the higher powers are enforcing on the world today. 

Jeremy is a personal song and written from my perspective. I wrote it about how horrible it can be when someone you know has dodgy politics and how that can shape your relationship. Family of Four is a concept song, inspired by something I read by the author Sue Townsend. She had three young children and was surviving on the welfare state in the 80s and it was so upsetting to read and so relevant to today which is heartbreaking. 

You’ve got a load of tour dates coming up, in support of Fixed Ideals. What are your favourite kind of shows to play and how do the sets differ from being a festival slot or headline show? 

We love playing any kind of shows, especially when we haven't been on tour for a long time so we’re really excited. I guess at Festivals we’d play a shorter set of the loudest songs we have! At a headline show we’d try and do a few different sounding songs to keep it interesting. There’s not much in it for a band like ours though, there’s no choreography, props or pyrotechnics. Yet.

If there’s one thing you want people to take away from Fixed Ideals, what would it be?

I don’t know, I don’t really have an agenda! I write songs because I have things I need to write down, and I usually feel better after doing it. Maybe I’d want people to know that they could try being creative as a way of dealing with stuff. And I want people to want the Tories out. 

Featured by Tyler Damara Kelly 

'Fixed Ideals' is out now via Specialist Subject Records, Muncie Girls will be on tour this September and October