Release Date: Jan 23, 2007
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative, Singer-Songwriter
"Wild Vanilla" could have been done by Lou Reed early in his solo career, and would have fit well on his self-titled debut, or even on Coney Island Baby. But it's all Hersh: as the guitars swirl, an acoustic keeping rhythm with Narcizo's kit work along with a psychedelic wobbly, distorted, and time-warped lead line, she sings: "You messing with my head makes a terrible noise." "The Thin Man" is one of those tracks, a ballad that cannot be described. Its poetic and compositional acumen are irrevocably linked, two terribly mismatched lovers rolling together in a dance of starvation and obsession.
Should we be surprised that after two decades of alternately raging and wailing, Kristin Hersh's voice sounds so dignified, so worn and torn, or that it serves her so well on her first solo album in four years? "Ask a question, you get an earful," she rasps amid clattering Nineties guitar fills and the push and pull of strings on opener "In Shock." Indeed. Learn to Sing Like a Star is the full Hersh experience, encompassing as it does all of her back-catalog iterations, from the knife-throwing thrills of the Throwing Muses' precise power pop to the cutting melancholia of her Hips and Makers-era balladry. With help from Dave Narcizo on drums and Martin and Kimberlee McCarrick on cello and violin, Hersh handles everything else.