Review: I'm Not Your Man

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Following on from her debut effort We Slept at Last in 2014, Marika Hackman has recently returned to the airwaves, with follow-up I’m Not Your Man. I must confess that Marika Hackman is a very new find for me. A chance discovery on Facebook led to a Spotify investigation, resulting in the perusal of this new album, released earlier this month. I was delighted to hear an album that excels not only musically, but also in terms of production and vocal execution.

Recent years have been blessed with a great number of exceptional female singer-songwriters – Lianne La Havas and Laura Mvula to name a couple – so it is easy to imagine that Marika Hackman could be investing in a flooded market. This couldn’t be further from the truth however, as Hackman offers a truly unique sound in this second album, with a combination of folk and alternative rock. Cutting lyrics and haunting vocals add to this, to make this album a refreshing change to the genre.

The Big Moon (who have recently released their debut album, which is well worth a listen) feature as backing vocalists and instrumentalists on the record, giving the whole affair a sense of scale and depth that was lacking from Hackman’s previous record.

Having said this, this isn’t an exceptional album by any means. Truly the best word to describe it is competent, and is more the sort of record that you might want to revise to or appreciate intellectually rather than fall in love with. There are a few out and out hits – 'Boyfriend' and 'My Lover Cindy' particularly, but the ensemble as a whole feels somewhat lacking when listened to in sequence.

All in all, this isn’t an album that will set the world alight. Despite its exciting summery sound, it falls short of exploring much new ground. But it is a well written, well performed and fantastically produced record, and is very evocative of a certain type of music from this decade. At the very least, this is an example of the joys of music streaming – this is an album I simply wouldn’t have bought outright, and it has been a joy to hear it. It’s very much a slice of 2017 – whether it ages well or is lost in the melee of new releases remains to be seen.

6/10

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