A self-titled album is a statement. For most artists, it’s their debut studio album; a flag in the sand; a chance to define their sound and make their mark. For others, it signals a change in direction; a new start; a vessel to explore their most intimate emotions or passionate issues.
For MUNA, their third studio album cannot clearly be defined as either. Present are the catchy electronic synth sounds and upbeat drum machine, the infectious choruses and harmonious vocals – but a new nostalgia shines through where there was once a sense of reluctance.
Opening track, ‘Silk Chiffon’, featuring the band’s new label head Phoebe Bridgers, radiates warmth with charming acoustic guitar and sunny synth, reminiscent of the establishing song of a favourite noughties rom-com. ‘Runners High’ relays the positive side effects of a break up, the lyrics documenting a new, refreshing phase, “I’ve not been drinking or staying out late // Get up early and I meditate // paint the walls a different colour // I’ve been doing almost everything I wanted to.”
Meanwhile, ‘No Idea’ radiates confidence, the reverberated harmonies and clean synth, coupled with electric guitar riffs oozing power and dominance. Similarly, the snappy, Shania Twain-esque vocals and bittersweet guitar patterns of ‘Anything But Me’ reflect the lyrics “I hope you get everything you need, everything but me // I don’t want to stick around trying to work it out.”
By the time we reach the final track, ‘Shooting Star’, the record has come full circle. Cycling from break up, to self discovery, to self care, and the band enter a new phase of confidence and positivity. Sustaining their classic sound, MUNA are the same, but they’ve grown: optimistic and unstoppable.
MUNA is available from Saddest Factory Records on Friday 24th June.
photo credit: Issac Schneider