You learn a lot growing up together — sharing desires, broken hearts, learning the perfect ratio of staying out late to cups of coffee, navigating the ins and out of a small music scene. This is no doubt some semblance of the case for Muncie Girls, a group whose vocalist/guitarist Lande Hekt, guitarist Dean McMullen and drummer Luke Ellis all grew up together in Exeter, England, going to and playing DIY shows.
For its second record (once again, inspired by a Sylvia Plath quote), Fixed Ideals, the trio sharpens its sound by slowing down (just a smidge) to make a bigger impact. In the eight years since it’s been a band, Muncie Girls has leapt into its pop-punk hooks and feminist identity with wild abandon.
“These are some of the most personal songs I’ve written, and I was listening to different music when I wrote them and during the recording, which probably sounds quite noticeable,” Lande Hekt writes in a press release. “Stuff like The Replacements, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Popguns and The Pastels. I think we all became a bit more adventurous with this record.”
“Picture of Health” may blast out the gate with thunderous drum fills and arena-bopping riffs, but there’s more push and pull to the driving rhythm than before — some of that Pastels and Popguns Brit-pop jangle smoothing out the rough edges.
Lande Hekt tells NPR Music that the song is “about realizing how much easier it is to worry about your friends than it is to worry about yourself,” and that, as she sings at the anthemic chorus, “maybe you could look after me and I could do the same for you / Just for a while ‘till we’re back on our feet.” It’s accompanied by a video, directed by Jack Barraclough, that alternates between two friends checking up on each other (and forever tied by a silver fidget spinner) and the band performing on what appears to be (but probably is not) Korn’s “Freak on a Leash” set.