Paladas Soleadas – THROWING MUSES: Sun Racket (Fire Records, 2020)

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“In the years following Throwing Muses‘ 2013 album Purgatory/ParadiseKristin Hersh focused on the louder side of her music. On 50 Foot Wave‘s 2016 EP Bath White and 2018’s excellent solo albumPossible Dust Clouds, she seemed determined to exorcise her troubles with sheer volume. Of course, her music is a force of nature no matter which project she’s working with, and Sun Racket shows thatthe Muses still have plenty of noisy catharsis to offer as well. Where Purgatory/Paradise was huge in size, consisting of a sprawling mosaic of songs and a book, the band’s first album in seven years is huge in sound, with a rolling, crashing heft that owes more than a little to Hersh‘s work with 50 Foot Wave. It may be named Sun Racket, but water imagery abounds in its ebb and flow of surging rockers and ballads that draw in listeners like an undertow, and in how it channels the sudden ways life can change (it’s probably not a coincidence that Hersh‘s 25-year marriage was ending as she made this album). The standout “Dark Blue” opens the album’s floodgates with a reminder of how Hersh,Bernard Georges, and David Narcizo can submerge their listeners in big sonics and bigger emotions. It’s a feeling that’s echoed on “Bo Diddley Bridge,” a song inspired by the time Hersh fell asleep on the shore near the titular landmark, only to wake up swimming once the tide rolled in. “Frosting” is another stunner, flattening everything in its path while Hersh brings anguish to a lyric like “your smiling smile” as few others can. Her songwriting holds its own within Sun Racket‘s fray, in large part because her well-worn rasp of a voice is its own special effect. Hersh‘s longstanding gift for surreal and evocative images endures on “Bywater,” which boasts a goldfish named Freddie Mercury, and on “Kay Catherine,” where secrets written in crayon and rosy rings add a childhood creepiness to its rickety sonics. On songs like these and the slow-burning “Upstairs Dan,” Throwing Muses‘ power to mesmerize is as potent as ever. The sheer density of Sun Racket makes it something of a grower, but fans will be more than willing to take the time to let these songs sink into them ” (All Music)

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