I've been entranced by Kristin Hershs' music since the early days of Throwing Muses, through her disparate solo albums and her experiments with 5o Foot Wave. I've not loved everything unequivocally, but when Kristin sings my bones vibrate, and even if I don't always understand where she's going, I'm always glad to be along for the ride.
The songs on Learn To Sing Like A Star feel like a writer and performer more in control of her muse than she may have been at times, and enjoying every minute of it. There are moments when I'm reminded of Real Ramona - era Throwing Muses, even of the melodic sensibilities Tanya Donelly brought to their work at that time, but the voice and the lyrics are pure Kristin. There are also moments when the simple directness we've heard in songs on some of her recent solo albums is to the fore. And there are songs that just rock.
I don't know if I can pick outstanding tracks on this album because I honestly don't think there is a bad piece of work on it. As lyrically beautiful and complex as ever, this is an album long-time Kristin Hersh enthusiasts will love, but it may also be more accessible to newer listeners than some of her other work, and if that leads to those people going back and listening properly to her earlier work, and paying attention in the future, that can only be a good thing.
Above all, there is a huge amount of joy and fun in this album, something that's always been in Kristin's work, though sometimes you may have had to look harder to see it. Kristin never just gives us more of the same, and I can't wait to hear what's next.