Never in my wildest dreams after hearing Marika Hackman's delicate 2015 debut would I have guessed her second would open with a banger - yet 'Boyfriend' is exactly that. The off-kilter progressive folk track has an immediate exuberance and an inescapable braveness for an artist who made an acclaimed debut in a far removed sound. A brazen track brimming with spontaneity and Big Moon shrieking, it is sharp enough to slice through the twee indie folk label with which Hackman had been firmly branded following the release of We Slept At Last.

Second single ‘My Lover Cindy’, a sophisticated nod to cult icon Cindi Annabelle Turner, continues along this unpredictable path of 60s psychedelia and sandy surf rock. Long gone are the floral metaphors and lyrical layers that cocooned a large amount of her debut, in favour for cutting lyricism and a heavy dose of self-loathing delivered with Kurt Vile charm. Recently speaking online, she noted “Fear is a very good driver. If you’re not scared, it means you’re not pushing yourself,” and this record translates as an artist consistently taking themselves into zones of discomfort to unearth creativity. It seems she hopes to instil some of that fear in her listeners; ‘Round We Go’ has a sinister uncertainty redolent of The Cure’s ‘Lullaby’; sombre strings and imagery of flesh coloured marbles entrapped in a skull to boot.

Her signature visceral writing style is omnipresent on I’m Not Your Man. Throughout the record Marika kills her sister, chokes a lover, hangs from a tree and indulges in many more grizzly activities. A sexual openness empowers tracks such as ‘Violet’, which includes a disparate plea of “oh I love your mouth” before we once again enter the territory of gruesome romanticism. ‘Cigarette’, a bleak and lovelorn two minute interlude, finds Hackman muses sharing a fatal kiss of petroleum and a newly lit smoke. These foul lyrics are worlds away from this songwriter’s pristine high fashion beginnings, a section of her life she has openly talked about with overt distain.

In an interview earlier this year, Hackman stated that “this record represents me more as a human,” and this humanity is achingly apparent in the double A hit of ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Good Intentions’. The second track has a repressed irritation; grizzly guitar riffs make way for Marika’s unsettlingly subdued vocal yet the sting of her words is no less affecting as she sneers “I’m not your man.”

Marika is clearly proud of her ability to change sound and people generally seem to be on board with the new direction. This is not to say we have departed the debut entirely; the evocative ‘Apple Tree’ feels like a B-side to ‘Monday Afternoon’; echoed percussion and vivid metaphors of nature and growth. The punchy ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ guises the horrors of ageing with surprisingly upbeat melody, the most accessible chorus Marika has written to date. I’m Not Your Man is an album of complete gay abandon, an artist freeing herself in every aspect of her process and we could not be happier.