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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on 16 November 2014
Tanya Donnelly joins Hersh again for a wonderful album - the Muses always seem timeless to me, but Donnelly adds that certain something, a little more sweetness to the mix again, while regaining the punchy quirkiness of TM that they've always had.
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on 25 May 2016
the muses usual formula,great album with two or three absolute corkers
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on 23 October 2015
A must buy for lovers of alternative rock/indie music. Play the album twice and you've got a freind for life.
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on 18 November 2014
All good thanks.
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on 30 March 2003
The Throwing Muses were one of the most promising rock bands to emerge in the mid 80’s. They produced some of the most outstanding and original music not only of the 80’s but, in my opinion, in the history of rock. With roots in the folk-punk of the Raincoats and Slits, they created a cacophonous sound of women possessed by goddesses, in songs with remarkable lyrics that easily slipped between time signatures and unique tempos. Although Sleater-Kinney later appropriated, and refined some of their magical art-punk-pop ethos, their sound remained like no others. After about two years, this formative period (most of which is available on “In A Doghouse”) gave way to a more listener friendly version of Indypop. Although tamed by the industry, and aiming for commercial success, occasional signs of their early genius popped up on records now and then.

Now nearly 17 years after the original brilliant self titled album “Throwing Muses”, they have re-released a new self-titled CD that recaptures and builds upon this early period. Although the live production is occasionally muddy, this nevertheless may be their best album yet. Bandleader, Kristen Hersh’s new spare acoustic solo album also is a great complement. Along with the new Cat Power, this is shaping up to be a great year in rock!
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on 10 June 2011
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?
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on 4 July 2008
Throwing Muses first 'proper' album came out in 1986, when The Smiths were at the height of their powers. But where The Smiths represented the everyday teenage angst familiar to many, Throwing Muses offered a far darker and more frightening account of severe mental distress.

Singer, guitarist and songwriter Kristin Hersh said at the time that the songs weren't really hers, that she was merely the conduit for them, and the album has a sense of something that is barely under control, which could spin off on its own course at any moment. And it is brilliant. Each and every song is so complete, so captivating, that most songwriters would give their right arm to have written just one - here we have a whole album full. They form a dense whirl of cyclical guitar patterns, shifting tempos and fractured vocals; but this is no dirge. The guitar parts can shimmer with a glittering energy, and David Narcizo's unconventional (he started off in marching bands) and superb drumming provides a powerful spring in the Muses step.

Several songs (America, Rabbits Dying) possess a sprightly, almost manic energy, although they can turn in on themselves, with claustrophobia and dark thoughts never far away. Delicate Cutters is extraordinary, a sparse and jagged 'self-harm nightmare'. But the real highlight is Hate My Way, one of the most emotionally loaded, terrifying and gut-wrenchingly sad songs you are ever likely to hear. When Kristin sings "so I sit up late in the morning and ask myself again, how do they kill children? And why do I want to die?" and chokes on the last line, I choke too.

At this remove, 22 years later, listening to this feels somewhat voyeuristic. But like all the best stuff, this is music made by people who felt totally compelled to make it. And she's a lot better these days.

Buy this record. Really. Throwing Muses were one of the most extraordinary guitar bands to ever form, and this was their best work.
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on 19 March 2003
Not for the faint hearted this album is guaranteed to appeal to returning Fans of throwing muses as well as new converts. There are echo's of the Pixies, Pearl Jam, and newer bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle club but most of all this album leaves you in no doubt that it is a muses effort.
Much has been made of the line up in that Kirsten Hersh, David Narcizo, Bernard Georges are rejoined with Hersh's half sister Tanya Donelly but if listened to as a continuum through Real Ramona, Red Heaven, University, Limbo and now the eponymously entitled Throwing Muses there is a continuing theme.
The albumn kicks off with the dark brooding base of Mercury "I am the opposite of you" sings Hersh. There are several moments of brilliance in the album but this; more than previous Muses records needs time. Civil Disobedience is a track that Pearl Jam would be proud of. Status Quo starts with grating guitars and symbol but then at 55secs Narcizo enters with a 4/4 beat joined by a traditional Muses guitar hook. Speed and sleep begins with melodic dark bass and lead guitar echoes. The albumn gets stronger through each track - Portia is perhaps the most poppy moment and Epiphany starts reminiscent of Two Step or Santa Claus from earlier Muses albums but develops into a 4/4 guitar churning broken by Narcizo's drums, Donelly's cries and Hershes guitar. The closing track Flying is a track that summarises the albumn as a whole - Hersh growls and agonises, Donelly soars, Narcizo's drumming is perfection adjoined by bass that underlies the song.
In short these 12 songs depict a return for a strong Muses line-up certainly not short on musical creativity or ability. This is an album like none other on the market presently and contains a richness sadly lacking in the years since 1996's Limbo.
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on 25 March 2003
OK, it certainly won't be to everyone's tastes and it may not be the most accessible music around, but that doesn't detract from how good this is.
Since the Muses's broke up a few years ago, Kristin Hersh has been producing some excellent music. What could the Muses do that she couldn't do on her own? The answer is found here. This CD is raw, there are time signature and volume changes that haven't been found in her solo work. And although Tanya Donelly hasn't rejoined permanently, her backing vocals lift this music. David Narcizo and bassist Bernard Georges supply the backing in their distinctive styles. The songs may be Kristin's, the realisation is the Muses.
The opening track “Mercury” sets the tone – a four beat count in followed by a manic riff before settling into the vocal at a half the pace. This is not music for those who like their music straightforward. As the song develops, the vocal lines become more entwined and reminiscent of the Muses’ debut album.
Similar twists accompany many of the other tracks. “Pretty or Not” strolls through the verses until the chorus kicks in with a 6/8 beat and distorted guitar raising the energy. “Solar Dip” switches between 4/4 and 6/8 in alternate phrases – sounds a bit bizarre but it works. “Status Quo” could be taken from any of the first three albums, the end as Kristin sings “what do you have on your mind?” is full of the emotion that distinguishes he from so many other singers. I could go on through every song but I think I’d be too indulgent.
The final two tracks though are incredible. “Half Blast” starts with distorted bass and a slow picked riff, a melancholy vocal, the odd extra beat to unsettle…before launching into the uplifting chorus of “come outside, everyone’s outside, everything’s alright”. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up the first time I listened to it…
“Flying” completes the record with a driving, lifting beat. Again the vocals, this time with careful echo and reverb create something more than your run of the mill indie album. As Kristin sings “I want you so bad, what can I do?”, you believe it as it feels every emotion has been poured into this music.
I can’t imagine this converting anyone to the Throwing Muses on first listening, as I said, it’s not the most accessible music. But it is worth persevering with, it is powerful, challenging and uplifting music.
For those who know them, this is possibly their best work. It’s good to have them back.
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on 25 March 2003
I should say that I'm a massive Throwing Muses fan - so it's not worthwhile just to say that this is good: I need to put it in relation to the rest of their material.
They've been away since the largely disappointing Limbo, with Kristin Hersh's solo career going fairly well Some of the songs here were previewed in the 'Gut Pageant' occasional reunion gigs, and the whole album was recorded over a year ago, with release having to wait until Kristin had her latest baby.
This is a 'power' album. It rocks. It rocks like the Muses haven't done since Red Heaven, the album that showed the loss of Tanya Donelly wasn't terminal. I think this is the strongest album since, at least, the aforementioned Red Heaven. Arguably since The Real Ramona.
Portia and Solar Dip sound like they could have been on Limbo - where they would have probably have been the best tracks. There's more, er, balls, to this.
The rest of Throwing Muses (this new album, not the previous one of the same name!) is new ground for TM, but still retains their distinctive style.
Give it a try. Make sure you get to the end - Half Blast and Flying are the best two tracks in my view.
Only the odd weak moment like Status Quo (how can a track with that title ever be any good!) stops it from getting five stars. To hear Kristin rock again is a treat.
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