Author: Briana Ellison
On May 6, the band MUNA released their “The Loudspeaker EP.” The Los Angeles-based trio is made up of lead vocalist Katie Gavin, lead guitarist Josette Maskin and rhythm guitarist and producer Naomi McPherson.
The first song on the EP is “Loudspeaker,” which opens with an upbeat, trilling beat with a simple but commanding guitar. The positivity of the music is contrasted by the lyrics of the first verse. Gavin’s voice is beautifully smoky, giving the rebellious lyrics an edge. Lyrically, the song deals with an individual holding Gavin back, and protesting when Gavin insists on her independence.
Her voice picks up in the second verse, with her deep voice showing a tinge of anger as she discusses being threatened into silence. During the bridge, Gavin gives us a taste of her full vocal range as she sings in a slightly higher pitch, adamantly refusing (and encouraging others to refuse) to take responsibility for her individualism.
One of the beauties of the song, however, is the way MUNA makes use of the dual meaning of the term ‘loudspeaker.” Not only do they make reference to playing music from a loudspeaker, but Gavin also sings about being a loud speaker, which furthers her message of revolution.
Next is the song “So Special,” featuring a pulsing beat from McPherson, a funky, sliding guitar from Maskin and Gavin’s strong vocals. Gavin uses the breaks in her voice to highlight the emotional nature of realizing someone’s utter disregard for you in a relationship. In the last half of the faster-paced chorus, Gavin’s, McPherson’s and Maskin’s vocals all blend together beautifully, creating a ghostly wall of feminine power. For the rest of the song, Gavin is unabashedly reflective and apologetic as she accepts the betrayal and makes her plan to move on.
Third is MUNA’s most popular song, “Winterbreak,” which has garnered many remixes of the original version. “Winterbreak” begins with the gradual introduction of various string instruments, sounding as though they’re traveling across a snowy landscape. As a bass and guitar combination joins in, Gavin’s vocals become the softest they’ll be on the entire EP.
Lyrically, the song sounds like the reversal of “So Special.” There’s no betrayal, but a depressing realization that a relationship may have reached its breaking point. Gavin’s vocals are sorrowful and detached, as though she’s already reached her decision. Sonically, the music reinforces the chilly and fragile and nature of the song with light instrumentals that seem to disappear is you listen too hard.
Finally is “Promise,” which features a beat that sounds reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” Gavin is straightforward, Maskin’s guitar is the most prominent its ever been and really guides the song. The song is a continuation of its predecessor “Winterbreak,” detailing the actual breakdown of a relationship. Gavin lyrically describes chaos, and the amalgam of synths, percussion and guitar riffs reflects this on a closing song that sounds positive but is realistically dark.
Overall, I give this EP a 9/10. All of the song’s are beautiful and I love the way they seem to connect with each other, and the duality of the meaning of “Loudspeaker” is genius. Although I would’ve liked at least one more song, MUNA are a relatively new band, but one that already knows what their strengths are and has a handle on their composing and songwriting. Listen to “The Loudspeaker EP” below.