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Marika Hackman - Big Sigh (Album Review)

Monday, 15 January 2024 Written by Katie Macbeth

Photo: Steve Gullick

Marika Hackman’s ‘Big Sigh’ is just that: a therapeutic release of sadness, stress, and lust described by the indie-rock auteur as the hardest album she has ever had to make.

Not that it’s immediately apparent. Hackman lands on her feet with opener The Ground, allowing emotionally resonant, intricate piano work to take centre stage alongside melodies that are reminiscent of the haunting sounds found within Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’.

Lead single No Caffeine, too, is an instant highlight, arriving as a guide on what to do if you are experiencing a panic attack. It’s again driven by piano, but this time Hackman uses its notes to almost mimic the racing heartbeat of someone with heightened anxiety. 

The track gains pace, building up to a climax that feels like both a release and an acceptance of those feelings. It’s as though Hackman has come to terms with the way she navigates the world, finding a way to live with it.  

Notably, ‘Big Sigh’ marks the first time that Hackman has been credited as lead producer, with The Lonely House a heart-rending display of her musicianship. An instrumental track, it is stripped of her distinctive vocals, leaving behind only a piano melody that neatly conveys heartbreak and longing.

Hanging and closer The Yellow Mile do a near perfect job of expressing the loneliness often felt at the end of a relationship. The former, in particular, revolves around some of the LP’s most poignant lyrics as Hackman sings, “My heart won't grow with your fingers down my throat.”

Fit for the gloomy January days it has been released into, ‘Big Sigh’ shows Hackman at her most mature, sharing some deeply personal experiences in her most musically diverse display yet. It feels like the beginning of a new chapter.

Marika Hackman Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed January 17 2024 - KINGSTON UPON THAMES Banquet Records
Tue March 12 2024 - GLASGOW Oran Mor
Thu March 14 2024 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Fri March 15 2024 - LEEDS Wardrobe
Sat March 16 2024 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Cluny
Mon March 18 2024 - BRIGHTON Brighton Concorde 2
Tue March 19 2024 - BIRMINGHAM Castle and Falcon
Wed March 20 2024 - BRISTOL Bristol Strange Brew
Thu March 21 2024 - LONDON St Johns-at-Hackney Church

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