Album Review: Marika Hackman - 'Any Human Friend'
Marika Hackman seems to be picking up where Christine & The Queens left off, in continuing the conversation of female desire - focusing the attention and thought process of her intimate moments with her own hands as a reminder that women can feel lust, have crude thoughts and desires just as any man can.
Whilst most people will focus on the sensual parts of ‘Any Human Friend’ it’s the tender moments that prove most riveting. It seems key that the haunting melancholy moments of album opener ‘Wanderlust’ come full circle – reflecting on what you might have done in a relationship before deciding not to lose yourself in it. That this leads to the title track, in order to bring everything to a close is a key example of how the raunchy subject matter isn’t her most poignant talent. Marika’s vocals take on a ghostly, angelic purity whilst the instrumentals are at their most raw state, being built up as the song develops before turning into a willowing ethereality of strings, keys and flute. Sometimes simplicity is key.
This isn’t to say that the carnal songs don’t deserve the spotlight, also. When most people record an album fresh out of a break-up, their songs are more often than not filled with melancholy, sentimentality and yearning. Well, it seems to be the opposite for Marika Hackman. ‘Any Human Friend’ is one of the most ravenous albums that I’ve heard for a long time, even though there’s a subtlety in the way she gets her point across. ‘All Night’ is bold and direct: “we didn’t even speak you took my hand and held it between your thighs” when compared to the more cunning style of ‘Hand Solo’ which deals with euphemisms and biblical digs instead of being as in your face: ““I dig for life in the yard of my thighs […] I’m gonna die a virgin.”
‘Come Around’ offers an insight into the confusing feelings that come with balancing multiple partners: “I think that I love her but I’m fucking another” and ‘Send My Love’ shows that sometimes distance is the best thing: “If you loved me tonight you’d get the fuck out of my sight.” Lyrically, Marika is as daring as ever and musically she swings between soft, electronica on ‘Conventional Ride’ to echoing lo-fi beats on ‘Hold On’. In-between there are lashings of her atmospheric indie, and hip swaying synth-pop. As well as her thighs, Marika is digging into a more personal side to herself and we like the daring direction it is taking her.
Words by Tyler Damara Kelly