Fixed Ideals is the second album from UK indie punk band Muncie Girls, set for release on August 31st, 2018 via Buzz Records in North America and Specialist Subject Records in the UK & Europe. The title, like the band's first LP, From Caplan To Belsize, was inspired by the writing of Sylvia Plath, in this instance drawing from a line of Plath's Sonnet: To Eva regarding "perfume, politics and fixed ideals." It was produced by Muncie Girls’ longterm collaborator Lewis Johns (Funeral For A Friend, Rolo Tomassi, Gnarwolves) at The Ranch and mastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge (Death Cab For Cutie, Coldplay, Haim).
Muncie Girls’ line-up is composed of vocalist/guitarist Lande Hekt, guitarist Dean McMullen and drummer Luke Ellis. The three grew up in Exeter, playing DIY shows in dive bars from a young age. Their full length debut, From Caplan to Belsize was released in the 2016, to rave reviews in the UK where they played Glastonbury and the Reading Festival, and generated excitement in the US despite the band's limited presence in the country, receiving praise from Noisey, landing on AV Club's best of the year list and garnering a Band to Watch designation from Stereogum who described the album as an "unafraid and uncompromising record [that] engages and emulates every wave of feminist punk from the Slits and Patti Smith to Veruca Salt and Sleater-Kinney and Huggy Bear."
Muncie Girls’ second album saw a change of approach for the band, who took more time in the studio, with Hekt playing guitar as well as bass, which she says helped to change the tone and direction of the songwriting.
"We were at it for so long, I thought it would never end,” she says. “I actually got ill half way through, because I think it was just a lot to deal with. 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. 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.”
Hekt has a knack of crafting intensely personal lyrics that remain relatable even as she grapples with broader political issues. This is apparent on the album opener, "Jeremy," which is directed at Hekt's absent father, but with lyrics concerning embattled former Top Gear host and noted misogynist Jeremy Clarkson ("I'm so angry I'm gonna get a tattoo/that says 'fuck Jeremy Clarkson and fuck you too'"), it reads as an attack on broader societal ills.
“’Jeremy’ is obviously a big fuck you to my dad, a right wing guy who denied my existence and refused to support my mum in any way,” Hekt explains, adding that “it should also apply to all people who use patriarchy to aid them in dodging responsibility.”
"Clinic" was written by Lande when she first starting taking CBT for her anxiety. “It was a really fucking horrible time but I’m glad I wrote it down,” she says. “This song is half about how important it is to get your mental health checked and ring the DAS, but it’s also about how long it all takes and how unbelievably underfunded it is. I have a lucky time with my mental health compared to so many people, and I have to think about how incredibly hard it is for so many people.”
Muncie Girls were demoing the album at the time that a fire blazed through their beloved local venue The Cavern, devastating the space that has been such a big part of their lives. "In Between Bands" is a specific reaction to that event and the album as a whole was heavily influenced by this tragedy.
Elsewhere the album explores themes of wasted potential, the effects of too much alcohol, the break down of personal relationships and what happens when friends and family let us down. It's a diverse and ambitious record, but one underpinned by an irrepressible pop sensibility and buoyed by humour and a sense of fun that persists in the face of hardship. The spirit of the Exeter DIY scene will always run through them, but with Fixed Ideals, Muncie Girls are set to win hearts and start conversations all across the world.