Muncie Girls

From Caplan to Belsize

Written by: HES on 08/04/2016 18:37:52

Muncie Girls is a three-piece punk outfit from Exeter, England. The band embodies the new melodic, indie punk sound; angst-y and self-aware. After having released several EP’s and splits as smaller size bands do in towns all over the world, our three protagonists are now ready to release their first full-length - already earning them a solid booking at this year’s Groezrock and earning recognition in by influential bands in the melodic corner of the genre.

The point of view is 50/50 a classic first-person narrative and an attack on classic British lad-culture, and I have to say, it’s a rather successful mix. “From Caplan to Belsize” is a rather short album of 10 songs, and feeling equally light because of the songs typically staying within 2,5 - 3,5 minute intervals. The lightness works well on an album that also tries to tackle more political topics than your average melodic punk. The lyrics take no prisoners when rallying against “rape culture”. This is best exemplified by the catchy and upbeat “Respect” that still manages to kick the issue right in its face with lyrics like “For next few years you can laugh and joke about your next victim, but when you’re old enough and your daughter cries, you’ll be sorry you did this”. Muncie Girls graciously corner the topic with sincerity, but without ever becoming protracted or preachy.

Lande Hekt’s voice is a great force for the band: Very straight-forward, but able to portray vulnerability at the same time. On tracks like “Balloon” she shows off a paper-thin falsetto, not unlike what indie-songwriter Waxahatchee did on her “Ivy Trip”-album. It’s an acquired taste, but in a setting where the vocals are usually very strong, it adds a welcomed fragility and sense of melody. The drum work of Luke Ellis keeps sneaking up on you in unsuspected places on one of the more post-punk sounding tracks like "Balloon", where they carry this rhythm to them, that is above and beyond your average 4/4. The tracks nicely show off the cooperation between the talents of all 3 band members as Hekt’s repeated chorus of “Everyone knows that it’s not your fault, everyone knows but you”, dusty refrains of Dean McMullen’s guitar and enough restraint in the composition allows all three members to show off their talents. McMullen’s guitar is equally impressive on one of the best tracks of the album; “Learn In School”, where he and Hekt create a call-and-response section between riffing and vocals.

Overall “From Caplan to Belsize” is a release that’s hard not to get excited about - there are very few dents in a pretty perfect product, but if one had to really nitpick, the lyrics are sometimes a bit sought, especially just in the basic rhyming department and maybe a bit of flatness in some of the lyrics. The only song that really suffers from both is the slower, Cure-riffed “Social Side” that comes off a bit unfinished, in spite of actually telling a very personal story. With the album being so short and light, the song sticks out a bit too much as one of those songs that probably mean a lot to the band, but probably, very cold-hearted and objectively should have been cut. It’s a minor thing and it almost feels unfair to point it out, as the rest of the album is genuinely very, very good and will leave you with numerous great refrains stuck in your head like; “You can find me under the table, I’m not coming out” or “I don’t wanna talk about it more than you do, in fact I wanna talk about it less when it’s with you”. Muncie Girls manage to show that girls in punk are branching out to be more than just riot grrrl and never has feminism sounded better or more nuanced.

8

Download: “No Recording”, “Learn In School”, “Balloon”, “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It”
For the fans of: Waxahatchee, Hey Mercedes, Superchunk
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.03.2016
Animal Style Records

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