Released via Get Better Records, Lande Hekt’s (Muncie Girls) debut solo album is a personal piece that not only chronicles her experiences coming out but also at the wider world, the climate crisis and the actions of both society and politicians.
Acoustic strums signal the start of album opener – and recent single – ‘Whiskey’, a song that finds Lande coming to terms with her sexuality and being happy: ‘Is it the feeling of not having to pretend?’ With its almost diary-style entries and clattering drums, it’s a fine start to an important record. ’80 Days of Rain’ follows and this song fits more into the potent rock-pop sound of Muncie Girls or maybe The Weakerthans with Lande delivering powerful lyrics that capture the essence of loneliness and the impending environmental crisis: ‘I want to be in love with something that won’t hurt me’; ‘And all your favourite animals die and there are no birds left in the sky’. This continues through on the folk-tinged ‘Winter Coat’ with its thoughts on becoming more and more distant from friends and increasing anxiety: ‘Like a winter coat left on the wardrobe for all the spring and summer’; ‘Hang my worries around my neck, it gets harder to walk with every step’.
‘Undone’ finds Lande wondering if she’s missed her chance with a special person (and a healthier life) while ‘December’ finds her coming to terms with a new-found happiness – all against a Replacements-meets-E Street Band soundtrack. This energy continues through on the tour-referencing – particularly Berlin – ‘Never Missed You’ and the slacker emo stylings of ‘Impending Dooming’. Lande suggests ‘I think you should keep on speaking out about things you’re not supposed to talk about’ – and that’s a message we could all live by. ‘Candle’ has a warming and yearning touch (‘I’m feeling scared for you but I don’t want you to find out. I’m feeling scared for me too. Is this candle burning out?’) while the penultimate title track is stripped right back as Lande examines how being true to herself changes the way people – including her friends – treat her and how enough is enough: ‘You’re doing fine, you’re doing well but the Catholics think you’re going to Hell’; ‘I live my life for other people, not in a good way… In a really shit, fucking way’.
The closing ‘In the Darkness’ finds Lande capturing the spirit of heroes Billy Bragg and Patti Smith as she rallies against the current state of politics and how many of those in charge do not have everyone’s best interests at heart – but also how important having the right to be heard is, replacing the first statement of ‘I’m more powerful than you’ll ever know, because I’ve got democracy and I’ll never let it go’ with ‘We’re so powerful and soon they will know we’ve got democracy and we’ll never let it go’. It’s a spirited way to close a vital record.