During a challenging time, Marika Hackman penned the song “Big Sigh.” As she was confined to her own thoughts during lockdown, the singer-songwriter from Hampshire persevered through creative stagnation until she had a breakthrough. This led to the creation of her newest album, which is her first collection of original songs since her well-received 2019 release, “Any Human Friend.” However, while her previous album was more carefree and catchy, this fourth studio album delves deeper into her mind, with occasional moments of release interrupted by somber piano breaks and dark lyrics.
Hackman’s unease makes itself felt from the bitter little chuckle that opens The Lonely House to the half-despairing pep talks she feeds herself in No Caffeine: “Scream into a bag, try to turn your brain off,” she murmurs over a pummelling bassline. Coping mechanisms are ditched in breakup ballad Hanging, in which she feels “pushed underwater” by grief. On the deadpan Vitamins, she dismisses her own body as “a sack of shit and oxygen”.
Hackman often explores the concept of bodies in her work, drawing inspiration from horror movies and ordinary life. However, her fixation with violence and physicality also reflects her desire to break free from her own thoughts and engage with the world around her. In the intense track “Slime,” she yearns to “climb your spine,” “shake your mind,” and “feel your bones crack.”