Mumbles – Heroine (Kitchen Leg Records)

Mumbles – Heroine (Kitchen Leg Records)

Berlin-based twee-punk band Mumbles release single Heroine plus remixes and a karaoke version of the track through tape-label Kitchen Leg Records.

MumblesArtist: Mumbles
Track: Heroine
Label: Kitchen Leg Records
Released: 28 September 2020
Find it: Bandcamp

There’s a bassline like a lost Blur song, a defiance to the lyrics, and a scrappy but infectious energy to Heroine by Berlin/Leipzig-based Mumbles.

The track is described as, “an upbeat, heroic song, about body acceptance, feminism, and being PUNK!” and from first listen it’s one you can’t help but sing along. It all feels rather simple, but in fact the track is deceptively so – hidden intricacies in the structure, and powerful messages behind blunt-force lyrics – making this somewhat more than your average punk track.

There’s plenty of cycles within this song, a short repeating refrain on the guitar, and a simple drum beat holding it all together, all echoed through the synths. It pulls at you, but as you find yourself too deeply mesmerised it kicks you back to reality with those lyrics: a rejection of the infantilisation of womanhood, and of the expectations on what it takes to achieve acceptable femininity and a stance against the reductive nature of society. It’s a sharp tug against the spirals of the melody, each a neat foil for the other.

“You don’t have to be able to play an instrument or be a musical person, just come by regularly.”

The track follows the band’s 2013 album Geese My Eyes, also released via Kitchen Leg Records, and the casual but extremely punk call for members who can commit regardless of prowess, is reflected in the overall scrappy sonics of this single.

Not only do we get that original version but Heroine has four alternative versions alongside it. This includes a karaoke version so you can really lean in to your urge to scream along to the chorus but it’s the three remixes which bring the track’s intricacies to the fore. Slow Steve takes the melody down to cycling arpeggios echoed in lyrical refrain, and keeping the vocal front-and-centre before spiralling again. Karin Anders transforms it into an operetta, with all the drama you’d expect as the melody is broken down to piano stabs.

But it’s the Softeis remix which really hits the spot – adding sparkling layers and reverb to create a piece somewhere between ’80s synth-pop and Prog. The chorus vocal stabs through fuzzy slides, before the track expands outward again, blooming and softly bursting around the central riff which here is held subtly making the return of the vocal even more stark. It’s close to dreampop territory in parts but keeps that edge of reality so we’re still very definitely hearing a track with punk throbbing through its veins, even while whimsy clouds the thoughts.

Heroine by Mumbles is out now on Bandcamp via Kitchen Leg Records.

Find Mumbles: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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