In a Doghouse (Rykodisc)
I receive hundreds of discs throughout the year, but the most enjoyable release so far is the double CD re-issue of Throwing Muses debut album and EP, in addition to their initial demo tape. The Muses had such a unique sound back in the mid-’80s that it has yet to be imitated, not even by themselves on latter-day releases (their sound became less abrasive and less dynamic with time). Kristin Hersh’s jagged crooning used to be so warbly and distinct, the closest comparison is the equally acquired sound of Caterwaul’s Betsy Martin. Structurally, the Muses’ style of ethereal-tinged rock had enough changes and innovative melodies to make each track engaging from start to finish. Possibly one of the best segues ever occurs in “Vicky’s Box,” in which the songs keeps building up a particular melody, but at the apex of a scream, it cuts to entirely different, yet equally infectious groove. Like the Pixies, the Muses will appeal to fans of unpredictable rock rhythms, but they never cross the line from being artistic to being artsy (the latter refers to style over substance).
(Two Main St. 3rd Fl. Gloucester, MA 01930)