It could well be her finest moment yet...

Right off the bat, 'Any Human Friend' asserts itself as a contender for album of the year. Marika Hackman, in the past, has been known for her dry, sharp, and personal lyrics; immediately, 'Any Human Friend' is a record that follows suit.

‘the one’ brings the distorted, warbly acoustics from album opener ‘wanderlust’ into a new light; ‘wanderlust’ is the melancholy first half, bleeding into ‘the one’’s sexual consciousness. Partnered with the sexiest Marika song yet, ‘all night’, the album’s opening trio is like having pudding for breakfast: nefarious, but feels so good.

Marika’s dreamy vocals are the binder of the record; there’s a decadent slew of genre mixing here. It’s only beneficial, though--there’s absolutely no sense of too many fingers in too many pies. Everything feels perfectly weighted, a gentle blend of guitars, pianos, and electronic beats. There are glimpses of trip-hop (‘hold on’), synth pop (‘i’m not where you are’), and disco (‘blow’) throughout the record’s eleven tracks.

There’s a definite evolution from 2017’s 'I’m Not Your Man', and certainly from the more acoustic sound of her first two albums. 'Any Human Friend' is outrageously self-assured - even more so than we’re used to.

Marika knows exactly who she is, and 'Any Human Friend' is proof of that. Each track builds on its predecessor; we delve deeper into the story with each song. One thing that is surprising is how the record never feels obnoxious or arrogant - it is just self confident.

The record peaks in its first four tracks, definitely, but even so, the album never falls short of hot and sticky - in a good way. In the best way. 'Any Human Friend' is powerful, sexy, and self-assured - pretty much exactly what we expected from Marika, but even better.

8/10

Words: Erin Bashford

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