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MUNA MUNA Saddest Factory Records


To be a fan of MUNA is thrilling, but it’s been a trip. The LA band’s third album arrives after they were unceremoniously dropped by RCA in 2020, which inevitably triggered a period of recalibration. Now signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory imprint, their recent output demonstrates a return to form for the trio, whose strain of pop is powered by a queer panache. You only have to look as far as skip-into-the-sunset breakup banger Anything But Me or the intoxicating sugar rush of Silk Chiffon (featuring Bridgers herself), which blossomed a thousand memes.

So it’s no surprise that their latest full-length offering, the eponymous MUNA, buzzes with a sense of hope. “I want the fireworks/ I want the chemistry/ I want that girl right over there to want to date me/ There’s nothing wrong with what I want,” frontwoman Katie Gavin states defiantly on second track What I Want over tightly-sprung dance-pop. Towards the album’s end, she sounds positively unburdened: “I used to wear my sadness like a choker/ Tonight, I just let it float,” Gavin croons on Loose Garment, a track made all the more affecting by its chamber orchestra arrangements and languid pace.

On MUNA, the group, who once jokingly described themselves as “queer electro synth pop country alt religious rock band”, freewheel through saccharine pop, moody synths and playful strokes of R&B. So Solid, in particular, has the euphoric pace of a John Hughes movie. It’s clear MUNA are basking in their most full-bodied, cinematic productions yet. But perhaps Kind of Girl holds the keys to the band’s central message: “Yeah I like telling stories, but I don’t have to write them in ink.” To redefine yourself, to accept that your story isn’t written in stone, is an achievement in itself.