Earlier this week I had the pleasure of seeing Exeter’s Muncie Girls for the second time this year. Once again they had a stand-in drummer, although a different one to the first time I saw them and this EP features a third person on drums from what I can gather. I’m not sure what is going on with the band and who is the "normal" drummer, but whoever seems to take the seat, they manage to provide a marvelous accompaniment to Lande Hekt on bass and vocals and Dean McMullen on guitar and vocals.
Opening track “Phantom Limb” is one of those songs that make you fall in love with a band the first time you hear it. I’d already played it on Bandcamp before buying the CD version that the band sells at shows (I believe the cassette is sold out now but these tracks can be bought via Bandcamp) so was fully aware of its catchiness with Hekt’s beautiful voice over an almost Samiam sounding tune but live it had an even bigger impact on me. The Samiam comparison is one which I frequently hear when listening to Muncie Girls, although it's not an in-your-face thing; it's much more subtle than that. When Hekt sings, it’s impossible to ignore her voice as it has a wonderful quality that draws you in, showing a hint of vulnerability yet with a touch of self belief as well. The other thing this song has is those couple of lines that get stuck in your head and keep the track going round and round without it ever getting boring or overplayed. Those lines are:
“Sometimes I'd feel a body next to me, like an amputee feels a phantom limb.
My loneliness was completely self inflicted, and I wouldn't let anybody in.”
For me they are extremely evocative and it’ll be a long time before I get tired of hearing this song.
To follow this comes “While You Live Yours,” another storming song which features some great guitar work and equally good bass playing (seeing Hekt play and sing live is a real treat--her fingers move at a ferocious pace at times and how anyone manages to sing so well at the same time is beyond me). This is a more uptempo song and the vocals of Hekt and McMullen work well together in the chorus, providing yet another glorious two minutes and 42 seconds of music.
The final track is a big departure from the first two as it is an acoustic effort which again highlights the quality of Hekt’s voice, showing its versatility in a different musical setting.
It might sound as if this is quite a sycophantic review but this band is really good live and in these three songs they’ve produced a fantastic release that I cannot get enough of. I really can’t wait for more recordings from this band and to be able to see them live again. If you like Great Cynics, then give Muncie Girls a try--they’re even better in my opinion.