Hidden beneath all of the thumping revelry, newfound freedom, and summertime horniness of MUNA’s marvelous third album, there flows an undercurrent of irony.
The Los Angeles trio launched two albums, in 2017 and 2019, on RCA Data, a significant label with all of the assets a budding indie band might ever have to launch them into the pop stratosphere. But MUNA remained on the fringes — well-reviewed with two-dozen dates opening for Harry Kinds and The 1975, however removed from a family title.
So what wouldn’t it take for MUNA’s huge break? How about signing to emo-folk favourite Phoebe Bridgers’ new imprint Saddest Manufacturing unit Data (in partnership with Useless Oceans) in 2021, which birthed the queer-love anthem and alt-radio mainstay “Silk Chiffon” (that includes Bridgers) in September and notched the group’s first look on Billboard’s Various Charts.
Following the one’s success, Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson are poised for an album launch that may entice the largest mainstream consideration and anticipation since they started enjoying music collectively at USC in 2013.
And with the highlight lastly burning, MUNA landed their first knee-buckling knockout, by far essentially the most assured work of their younger profession. Their self-titled album, out on June 24, explodes with synth-pop hooks revealing ecstasy, reflection and need — it’s an album to be blasted from the second the weekend begins, till the drunken 3 am stumble into the bed room, a brand new buddy trailing shut behind. Shut the curtains and crank it up.
“What I Need,” jumps with a bear-sized bass line and laser-aimed affirmations from Gavin, the band’s major songwriter, just like the earworm chorus: “I need the complete results, I wish to hit it arduous, I wish to dance in the midst of a homosexual bar” — if MUNA wasn’t already on the precipice of LGBTQ idol standing, this line may thrust the women (all of whom determine as queer) over the rainbow’s edge.
“Deal with Me,” constructed round a hypnotic acoustic guitar melody, is extra personal and sensual: “Seize a fistful of my hair, hint me like a top level view” Gavin whispers beneath the cresting synth. And “No Thought,” one other bounce-and-smack Robyn successor with further Max Martin-molding-*NSYNC late ‘90s affect, is a lusty notice to a lover who would dare mistake Gavin as harmless: “You don’t have any thought, the issues I take into consideration you if you aren’t right here.” The thrilling observe was co-written with indie deity Mitski — one other artist in her “let’s dance and fuck” period.
But a later mid-tempo tune titled “Free Garment,” which unpacks self-love and forgiveness, is harking back to Mitski, that includes the album’s finest introspective lyric: “Used to put on my disappointment like a choker, yeah, it had me by the throat / tonight I really feel I’m draped in it, like a free garment, I simply let it movement.”
The music is then swept away by heat violin and cello, a kind of call-and-response association masterfully shepherded by MUNA, who self-produced all the album. This can be the place the band transcends the million different acts making an attempt to make pop songs outlined by their bass and drum programming. Not solely are Gavin, Maskin and McPherson considerate and expressive songwriters who pen choruses worthy of Dua Lipa or Woman Gaga, however they possess the technical experience to make an album that’s polished but versatile, multi-faceted but singular.
With that, MUNA looks like an uninhibited creation, mixing warm-weather pumps with bleeding humanity from three ladies of their late-twenties nonetheless studying the best way to navigate poisonous relationships, acknowledge their failures and surge ahead.
“Runner’s Excessive” explores the artwork of leaving an S.O., laid over pounding dancefloor throttle — McPherson’s lone occasion of too-heavy-handed drum sampling — whereas the vitalizing single “Something However Me” is the band’s personal “We Are By no means Ever Getting Again Collectively,” a staunch sequel to their 2019 reduce “Stayaway.” Whereas MUNA’s comparability to fellow Angelenos HAIM is essentially worn out, there’s no mistaking “Something However Me” as a compatriot of 2013’s “The Wire,” with an identical 12/8 shuffle-chug.
If anybody music off MUNA was to behave as a thematic centerpiece, it might certainly be the country-tinged, Chicks-inspired (Gavin has sung their praises earlier than) single “Type of Lady,” which toys with the tales we inform ourselves, and the way self-acceptance stems from the understanding that no chapter is carved in cement: “I’m not some form of minor trope, who’s by no means gonna change — that’s so by-product,” Gavin croons earlier than mandolins welcome a self-help hook about grace and gardening.
And that’s in the end the place this album lives, within the revelation that the whole lot is topic to fixed updates and alterations. No future is for certain. So why wouldn’t you exit, get drunk, dance ‘til daybreak, fuck round, fall in love, break up, love everybody (no matter orientation) and, most significantly, love your self for who you’ve been, are and resolve to be?
That key message, extra buoyant than the band’s previous albums, coupled with addictive musicality that’s far too enjoyable to place down after a single hear, makes MUNA essentially the most roundly charming pop album launched to date this yr, indie or not. It’s a file to wear down by means of Labor Day, if not longer.
Whereas the band’s final album was titled Saves the World, this must be the one to morph them into superheroes, providing them the facility and platform to commandeer the style — a minimum of they’re the form of ladies who assume they’ll.