26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely astonishing!, 18 Jun. 2003
When the famous critic Lester Bangs reviewed Captain Beefheart's, 'Trout Mask Repica', for Rolling Stone, he claimed that the album, ' shattered my skull, made me nervous; it hit like a bomb'. I first heard Throwing Muses' debut album at the age of 14. It was winter, and being a teenager I was miserable for a lot of dubious reasons that seem pointless now. But the impact of the record when I heard it hit still like a bomb.
From the beginning of the album to the end, every song sounded vital. The music changed time signature so quickly, but magestically; songs became three songs in one, and still sounded so fresh and focused. I still haven't heard any album that can rival this, or come close to it for a reference.
The punk ethic is there. The music breaks down boundaries, but there is also a great deal of beauty that lies within the harmonies of Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly. The music makes me want to weep.
The lyrics are also very impressive; They are either extremely oddball, ('Why don't you do to my insight what you do to my insides', 'A kitchen is a place where you prepare, and clean up'), or they speak to every alienated adolescent in the world, ('I'm lonely at night, time on my hands, I feel sad in the day. Here I am, what a loser, waiting for years to go by').
But it was really the track, 'Hate my Way', that really got to me and changed the way that I thought about music for the rest of my life. Hersh's banshee like primal scream on this is unforgettable as she lets go and screams through the petty reasons why she hates the world and herself, ('A slug. I'm T.V. I can't find the ice'), then lists the problems other people experience, (A boy was tangled in his bike forever, a girl was missing two fingers). By the end of the song, the problems have got very intense and Hersh finishes, somewhat resigned, with the line, 'How do they kill children, and why do I want to die?'. It's the single most beautiful moment I have ever heard recorded, and I'm quite partial to Joy Division and the Smiths.
Are there other reasons why this album is so good? Yes.
The drumwork has to be heard to be believed, it's that rythmically perfect. Tanya Donelly is the cutest guitarist in rock, and, 'Green', is one of the most perfect love songs. Oh, and then there's the emotional overkill that is, 'Delicate Cutters'.
But this compilation, 'In a Doghouse', doesn't just give you this brilliant album, but the remarkable Chains Changed E.P. as well; and a handful of demos that are better than the finished versions.
Beautiful, disjointed, stark, perfect. Throwing Muses never bettered this album; no other band has come close and never will. The fact that a bunch of 17 year olds wrote the songs that make up this compilation makes it even more commendable. It was written at the right time of life for Kristin Hersh as she was moving towards adulthood and motherhood. This album spoke to me, and was the soundtrack of my teenage years stood at a bus-stop in Yorkshire going nowhere.