1986, Music

Throwing Muses (1986)

I didn’t really know what I was getting into here. I thought I knew what this band sounded like and I was kind of surprised they had existed as long as they did. And then “Call Me” started and I was like “Wait, what? They’re a (UK) post punk band???”

Hersh and co do something really interesting here, which is that they combine UK post punk with American alternative rock (including jangle pop) and folk music and a little bit of post hardcore. I’m not sure I’ve another record like it, in part because most of the British bands making stuff that inspired “Call Me” were not aware of what was happening in the US (or not interested in it) and few if any American bands of the era were interested enough in UK post punk to actually incorporate it into their sound.

The addition of the folk influence – a much stronger one than that usually present in jangle pop, which is much more “folk rock than folk” – really throws me for a loop. There’s one song where Hersh is finger picking a la folk music and it almost feels like one of the missing links between progressive folk and math rock, if only for a moment.

Occasionally Hersh decides she’s in a hardcore punk band and screams like it only the music she’s screaming over doesn’t really acknowledge it. Seriously, there’s a lot going on here.

Sure, it’s not the most consistent album in the world, but it’s fresh and distinct. I have listened to a lot of music from this era and little of it is this free in terms of the things put together here (which most people didn’t think went together). I understand that they got more consistent and sounded more like themselves later on, but I like this more – it’s creative, it’s all-over-the-place, and it has that “We can do anything” vibe of youth that sometimes is really endearing.


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