Muncie Girls / Great Cynics - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Muncie Girls / Great Cynics

Split (2014)

Specialist Subject Records

Here you have a match made in Devon: both bands have members who reside in the premier county of the Southwest region of England, all the tracks were recorded in Devon and finally, Specialist Subject Records operates out of Exeter, the county town of Devon. For a non-Devon coincidence, both bands are trios with female bassists.

So, after that little aside I suppose it's down to the music. First up its Muncie Girls: if it was possible to marry a band then this would be the band I'd propose to. It's quite simple really, the Muncies are a band for all seasons: they're a constant companion, they're there to give you a cwtch (go Google it) when you need one and also there to raise a smile. All in all, Muncie Girls offer up some of the sweetest indie/pop/punk you'll hear this, or any other year. The three tracks on this release are without doubt the best recordings the band have done – there is more depth to the sound, and the band's progression is notable primarily through a greater confidence which bolsters the whole presence of the band. Lande Hekt's vocals have never sounded as good as they do here and her bass lines work wonderfully well with Luke Ellis's evolving drum work. When I first came across the band it was Dean McMullen's guitar that provided me with a focal point, standing out as perhaps more advanced in ability, but these days it's evident that both Hekt and Ellis have caught up with McMullen and the trio seems to be firing on all cylinders with consummate ease. Muncie Girls' best effort here is "Everyday", another simple yet beautiful track that once heard, will not be forgotten, but it has to be said that all three songs are of a high order.

Great Cynics were not love at first sight for me. This is a band with which my relationship has developed slowly and steadily after a false start (all down to my own stupidity I'd add, in not appreciating what they were doing) but one which is now blossoming, albeit falling somewhat short of a marriage proposal. That being said, the tracks offered up by Giles Bidder, Iona Cairns and Bob Barratt are the best I've heard from the band, with a slightly more varied and edgy approach than the Muncie Girls. Giles Bidder's voice is distinctive and fits both a languorous delivery as heard on the bulk of "Dirt On My Book Bag" or a more upfront style as on the effervescent "Whatever You Want". However, the best of all the six tracks on this 12-inch would be "Scarier Area" which features vocals from bassist Iona Cairns – this one song is worth buying the record for, but to think you'd get five other excellent songs makes it imperative that this record is listened to. I must admit I almost thought that it was Lande Hekt's voice (one which I adore) for a short while, and had to double check that it was Cairns who was astounding me with her performance.

A great release and Devon should be proud.