A great return to form,
This review is from: Throwing Muses (Audio CD)
Why didn't I buy this years ago? Actually, I know why I didn't. I got the fear after University, the album I didn't like by the band who had been so unfailingly, so intensely perfect in everything they'd done right from the beginning. One of my discomforts of the fad for reformed bands is that some things are best left how they were. My fear of buying more Muses material after University was of the initial greatness being diluted by latter day mediocrity.
There are no such worries with this release though. It's not a case of picking up from where they left off but there is a sense of progression and continuity from The Real Ramona and Red Heaven, where the songs had become less cramped, more straightforward and more linear in form. This album has the feel of a more mature, more assured Throwing Muses; little on this CD would have found its way on to anything before The Real Ramona, which is not to say it's easy listening. There are poppier, more Belly-like moments such as Portia, but other tracks have an unmistakable Throwing Muses pedigree; Pretty or Not switches between time signatures in typical fashion and balances quiet segments with sections that could almost be called grungey. Epiphany is almost a distillation of what a Throwing Muses song is, albeit with a more heavy metal drumming style than we're used to. And while Kristin's voice has lost the scarier, fractured edge it had in the early days it has a ravaged quality which speaks of a life lived and is still capable of alarming the unwary. It's a pretty heavy album, if you need a reference point then it's probably Dio from Red Heaven.
They save the best to last. Half Blast is the Muses at full tilt; the heavy, pulsing distortion of closer Flying is a real treat, it's a track that could sit proudly on any of their albums to date and makes you want to listen to the whole lot all the way through again. And why not?