Q (UK) - - Incoming - EVE BAR­LOW

For Fans Of: Chris­tine And The Queens, Chvrches, Te­gan And Sara Get This Track: I Know A Place

It says some­thing about LA trio MUNA’s cur­rent im­por­tance that be­fore they had even re­leased their de­but al­bum, front­woman Katie Gavin was asked to write an opin­ion piece for Time magazine about their song I Know A Place. Out­wardly, a pop dance­floor an­them that’s all stab­bing synths and a cho­rus that’s as catchy as ’ 80s power bal­ladeer Pat Be­natar singing The Cure’s Just Like Heaven, the track car­ries a mes­sage about the im­por­tance of clubs and bars as safe havens for the LGBTQ com­mu­nity. Just days be­fore its re­lease, how­ever, the fa­tal shoot­ing of 49 peo­ple in an Or­lando LGBTQ night­club last June gave lines such as, “If you want to go out dancing… I know a place we can go, where ev­ery­one’s gonna lay down their weapons,” a tragic poignancy. “I Know A Place was never sup­posed to be a fu­neral hymn,” wrote Gavin. “We wrote our song to be the voice in your head that tells you to cel­e­brate peace dur­ing wartime, be­cause our bat­tle is only just be­gin­ning, and one day our war re­ally will be over.” MUNA have a sharp gauge on how to chime with the cur­rent cli­mate while de­liv­er­ing sparkling syn­th­pop. The shim­mer­ing tunes on de­but About U may re­call gen­re­blur­ring acts such as Chvrches (Cry­ing On The Bath­room Floor), Haim (Loud­speaker) and The 1975 (Outro), but lyri­cal top­ics rang­ing from sex­ual as­sault, self­loathing and un­healthy de­pic­tions of love ren­der them more pur­pose­ful than your usual main­stream band. Dur­ing a TV ap­pear­ance on Jimmy Kim­mel they per­formed in front of the quote on the Statue Of Lib­erty – “Give me your tired, your poor, your hud­dled masses yearn­ing to breathe free” – and un­veiled a new verse for I Know A Place, adding the line: “He’s not my leader, even if he’s my Pres­i­dent.” Sat in an LA cof­fee shop on a Mon­day morn­ing look­ing like the cast of ’90s high school witch flick The Craft, Gavin, pro­duc­er­gui­tarist Naomi McPher­son and gui­tarist Josette Maskin as­sert that their mu­sic it­self isn’t overtly so­cially po­lit­i­cal, just their ac­tions. “Every­thing’s be­ing sold through a po­lit­i­cal lens,” says McPher­son. “We come from


third-wave fem­i­nism, the idea of the per­sonal be­ing po­lit­i­cal,” adds Gavin. “Mu­sic is our chan­nel for con­nect­ing with peo­ple on a deep level and help­ing them heal. It’s a true feat when mu­si­cians talk about pol­i­tics while also get­ting right in your rep­til­ian brain [ taps back of head] via great pop.” Hav­ing ini­tially bonded over a love of emo and the ce­les­tial charms of Cocteau Twins and The Blue Nile’s so­phis­ti­cated art-pop at LA’s USC four years ago, MUNA prac­tise what they preach. On their first head­line tour in the US they en­cour­aged venues to em­ploy gen­der-neu­tral bath­rooms. “Some dudes were like, ‘What if I have my pe­nis out?!’” says Gavin. “Ev­ery­one has a gen­der-neu­tral bath­room in their own home and we should all re­lax about it.” Al­though About U has only been out a few weeks, the band are al­ready work­ing on the fol­low-up. “We’re writ­ing more happy songs now,” notes Gavin with a laugh. Al­though it might not al­ways feel like it from the cur­rent van­tage point, MUNA know there’s light at the end of a dark tun­nel.

“The bat­tle is only just be­gin­ning”: MUNA (from left) Josette Maskin, Katie Gavin and Naomi McPher­son. New to Q

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