Six years after disbanding due to financial reasons, Throwing Muses are back with a new self-titled album that finds them rocketing forward with the fervor you’d expect from a new band. Adding to the effect is Throwing Muses’ lo-fi, live-quality recording and muddy mix. Singer Kristen Hersh’s vocals are often buried beneath her wailing guitar, which is a shame considering how arresting her lyrics can be. She has a way of making everything, particularly relationships, sound more melodramatic than they should be (she sings “Sprawled here/Eleven years, forty-four seasons/We came unstuck and it stung” on “Speed & Sleep”), but after almost two decades, isn’t that why we love her? Drummer David Narcizo and bassist Bernard Georges help make Hersh’s off-kilter songwriting even wackier. The band switches violently between keys and time signatures and the effect is akin to listening to a group of musicians with Attention Deficit Disorder. Tracks like “Mercury” and “Pretty or Not” explode into their respective choruses while others are simply noisy and boorish, but it doesn’t make the album any less of an exhilarating experience. Hersh often seems like she’s struggling to form a hook or wrap her voice around a melody, ultimately wailing like a banshee, so the appearance of former member Tanya Donelly on several songs, including “Half Blast,” adds a much-needed sweetness to the proceedings.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: