Kristin Hersh has provided a mammoth collection of groundbreaking music, founding the Throwing Muses, and 50FOOTWAVE, as well as an extensive collection of solo albums. This, solo album number ten, feels like a landmark in many ways!
This release includes two CDs worth of music along with a book consisting of the lyrics for each song alongside an anecdote, in most cases involving Hersh narrowly escaping death, and in some cases accompanied by an image.
This is a massive marathon effort of an album. With 24 songs and clocking in just over 80 minutes this is one epic journey. Each track is emotionally charges with feeling and passion bursting out the seams! On top of this each track takes its fair share of twists and turns whole also exerting a massive no-wave atmosphere that ranges from thrashing energy to comfort lulls. On top of this Kristin Hersh’s voice is utterly amazing ranging from loud angry blasts to timid vulnerable moments to suit the soundtrack.
The album opens with the hazy eastern sounds of ‘Bright’. The slow sounds produce a thick atmosphere that lull yourself into a deep psyceldelic daze. ‘Bubble net’ continues the hazy journey but sees a darker side appear driven by Ms Hersh’s slow and defeated chants of “there’s no tomorrow”! The emotion achieved is amazing with a confronting feeling of melancholy while also offering a strange sense of comfort.
‘In stitches’ is a stripped back affair, acting as something of a contrast to the big atmosphere explored before but displaying no less emotion. The simple acoustic guitar creates an isolated earthy feel that is further enhanced by the sad and lost vocals. ‘Green screen’ is a heavier rocking affair with a dark post-punk backdrop. The music is kind of like dragging yourself around a dark and dirty alleyway in the middle of the night. There is a cold unsettling feeling that pulls you in and doesn’t let go. ‘Hemingway’s tell’ has a curious mix of grunge and indie pop sounds sounding rough and raw while also having some pretty poppy sounds floating through. This is all dragged along by Kristin Hersh’s raw and passionate vocals that charge along with no lack of emotion. ‘Detox’ and ‘Wonderland’ are both rather chaotic affairs, jumping from slow and calm moments to loud blasts of distortion and everything in between showing off the various confused thoughts and the powerful emotion that accompanies them. ‘Day 3’ is a slow melancholic affair that takes you though some deep, dark, and confronting alleyways. Disk one closes with the softer sounds of ‘Gradalupe’ almost asking as a breather towards the half time break.
On disk 2, ‘American cooper’ and ‘August’ continue the calm quiet vibe, driven by a light acoustic guitar the music flows in a slow and unsteady fashion. ‘Some dumb runway’ sees the tension start to drift back in as the loud distorted guitars make their way back into the sound. ‘Elysian fields’ has a certain uneasiness to it as the soft acoustic guitar shifts from from sound to another in a seemingly haphazard manner creating an amazing experience that takes you along the deep and dangerous journey not knowing what to expect. ‘Soma gone slapstick’ is an energetic rock tune packed with a roaring guitar, and a soft interior.
‘Between Piety and Destire’ brings in a country twang, creating a deep rural atmosphere. ‘Shaky blue can’ continues the rural vibe while taking things to an even darker and chilling place. The record closes with the dark and agonising sounds of ‘Shotgun’, ending the album with a massive ball of emotion!
This is an epic blast of energy full of twists, turns, power, and passion that doesn’t let up for its almost hour and a half duration. The length and sheer power of the songs means it may be something that needs to be taken in smaller increments rather than all in one go. Nevertheless this is an awesome collection of songs that takes you though the inner thoughts of Kristin Hersh with all the bumps and bruises felt along the way!
Check out Kristin Hersh’s website to find out more!