As something that can attested by anyone who has ever listened to her respective discography thus far, Lande Hekt has never been one to shy away from documenting her emotions and viewpoints within her music. From fronting the indie-punk mainstays Muncie Girls, Hekt has spent the past ten years or so utilising her craft to explore the socio-economic issues brought upon by conservative rule and how such issues have affected her life, mental state and relationships. Both 2016’s From Caplan To Belsize and 2018’s Fixed Ideals offered a sense of intrapersonal relatablity that resonated with others frustrated with the state of society at large, and with these records in comparison, it’s no tremendous surprise that her debut solo long play continues this trend. However, with Going To Hell chronicling the life changing personal journey that is accepting ones sexuality, Hekt reaches a new level of intimacy and honesty with this release.
The follow up to her 2019 EP Gigantic Disappointment and her first record as an openly gay woman, Going To Hell continues down the path the aforementioned EP trod in regards to both lyricism and musical stylings. The record sees Hekt continuing to shed the youthfully brash electrified punk haste that coats the hide of Muncie Girls' work in order to display the delicately woven and ornate layers that compose the structure of her solo material. Potentially the most forefront track, the opening ‘Whiskey’ instantly establishes the overall tone of Going To Hell, with Hekt questioning her identity, her place in the world and how such a world skews our identity whilst forcing us to don untrue guises in order to be accepted by our peers. As the gentle, borderline sleepy and exhausted acoustics awaken into frustrated reverberating soulgazing, Hekt openly ponders unanswerable questions that many many of us have been asking quietly within our socially rigid society.
In regards to this, the primary comfort from this record comes from Going To Hell exploring how maybe we are not destined to find the answers to these questions we all throw out to the void. As the record’s tracklisting runs through the anthemic and massive ‘80 Days Of Rain’ - a track marrying the frustration that comes with long distance relationships with the ultimate misery of climate change – and through the bittersweet gentle caress of ‘Winter Coat’ and the midwinter sun’s warmth of ‘December’, a sense of relaxed resignation becomes palpable. There’s a real and bountiful sense of catharsis within Going To Hell, the kind that becomes available through the exercise of anxiety, and the acceptance of one’s identity. Granted, the result of this may be a record much more pacifying and mollifying than anything recorded by Hekt thus far, but this is lusciously palatable in the way it meanders through the intimate experience that is much-desired self-acceptance.
Another way the record radiates personality is the way it channels and harkens vivid reminiscence of Hekt’s own inspirations from all across the socially progressive musical spectrum. Mirages of the likes of The Slits, Patti Smith and the ever unapologetic frank Laura Jane Grace manifest throughout the span of this record. Despite its ominous namesake, ‘Impending Dooming’ sees Hekt channelling Suzanne Vega’s ever so slightly nostalgic sunny disposition and in relation, the open title track sees her borrowing hues from the aforementioned Against Me! frontwoman to confront the sad reality that it’s inevitable that many will encounter horrific grief bigots within our heteronormative culture just because of one’s sexuality. Even with these comparisons, Going To Hell is still shimmering with bolstered personality and is a project that radiates Hekt’s now open identity.
In all, for many, Going To Hell is desensitised to resonate and pacify the countless individuals still desperately searching for the societal that comes with self-acceptance. For others, the record still harbours plenty to adore with its breezy and cathartic demeanour. Granted, those who indulge in this record with expectations of punk bounce may be left unfulfilled, even with ‘Undone’ and the swaying ‘Hannover’ mirroring the haste of Muncie Girls. But regardless, it’s impossible not to find relaxation and hope from the journey of self-acceptance Going To Hell both explores and soundtracks.