Queer LA girl group MUNA released today their debut album, About U, featuring standout singles "Loudspeaker" and "Winterbreak." The 12-track LP, from lead vocalist Katie Gavin and guitarists Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson, is a memorable first introduction to MUNA's arrestingly honest world, layered with slick glossy synths, explosive choruses and unapologetically queer storytelling. (It's easily the strongest album to be put out thus far in 2017).
Much like relationships, which Gavin explores throughout, About U is an emotional experience of highs and lows. On "Loudspeaker," a soaring highlight, MUNA sings about using your voice to recover from abuse: "If I feel real good tonight, I'm gonna put it high on the loudspeaker," Gavin says unapologetically. And on "If U Love Me Now," a brutally introspective cut, MUNA wrestles with the anxieties of love: "There's me under the table, hiding from my lovers and my allies, don't you love me now? [...] There's me in the doorway telling you please, you should just let me leave, if you love me now."
To celebrate today's album premiere, MUNA dropped a new music video for queer anthem, "I Know a Place," which Gavin told TIME she wrote for the LGBTQ community during Pride. "With 'I Know a Place,' we chose to imagine a place where none of us would need to be afraid," she said. "In honor of Pride and the rich LGBTQ history of turning bars and ballrooms into safe havens, the space we imagined was a dance club."
After Orlando's Pulse shooting in June, however, MUNA's track took on new meaning: "I know a place we can run, where everyone gonna lay down their weapon," Gavin sings. "Don't you be afraid of love and affection, just lay down your weapon." And in today's dark political climate, "I Know a Place" has even greater purpose, offering listeners a utopian escape from Trump's divisive agenda.
In MUNA's video—a stylized visualization of protest—the trio dances blithely against spliced in clips of an aggressive SWAT team. "We wanted this video to be a depiction of the fact that acknowledging the humanity of your enemy can be the most powerful battle tactic of all," MUNA wrote on Instagram about the Tabitha Denholm-directed clip. "Lay down your weapon."
About U is out now on all streaming services—watch "I Know a Place," below.