There a few bands we can say we’ve been tracking from day dot, but the way Muna have grown over the last couple of years has been a marvel to watch. Like proud parents we scramble to About U, the debut album of the queer-pop LA trio, and once again we beam with how much they’ve both grown and capitalised on their own talent.
Funnily enough, they run side by side with another release that fucks off the heteronormative. Their songs may be accessible like Syd, but in them wraps a deep sense of vulnerability and self-knowledge that you just wouldn’t get in mainstream shallow pop. On Loudspeaker, for example, they openly state “every time I love myself it seems to hurt your feelings”. It’s a fantastic moment of self-care that also feels like the gentlest middle finger at the same time.
In moments like this, their Californian road-pop transcends the unfair Haim-lite label they’ve been dogged with and becomes something altogether more euphoric. The life-affirming pro-LGBT jam I Know A Place will make anyone with that marginalised experience weep in the face of their open-armed solidarity, and their version of a ballad (If U Love Me Now) will make you weep purely on the sincerity of emotion.
And while there’s love and longing in the galloping guitars – which only just start to get repetitive as the album closes – it’s clear that the success of this sparkling debut record is not just because of the inward soul-searching, but what Muna offer to lost and wandering souls who may have also experienced what they have. That sort of audio counselling and empathy is missing in today’s landscape; this isn’t just About U, it could well be about every single one of us.