Release Date: Nov 11, 2016
Record label: Overlook Omnibus
Anyone describing the mammoth body of work of Kristin Hersh would use just about every word in the English language before considering 'ordinary'. The co-founder of Throwing Muses and frontwoman of 50FOOTWAVE, with eight solo albums already to her name too, seems endlessly, tirelessly inventive, whether she’s in rock bands or playing every instrument in the studio. So it’s no small statement that this ninth release, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, has the feeling of a masterpiece.
‘I’m doubled over on my knees again,’ sings Kristin Hersh on her tenth solo album. ‘Only way I know how to be.’ Of course, the raw emotion in her remarkable songs has only ever been the entry point rather than the crux; as with everything she’s done since Throwing Muses began rubbing salt in their own wounds (along with sugar and dynamite), these songs smoulder with mystery. Wyatt… contains 24 tracks of largely acoustic beauty, fraught with a tension that tantalises, comforts and baffles in turn.
Listening to a Kristin Hersh album is like receiving, unfiltered, a direct feed of someone’s thoughts, with all the internal symbols, memories, private jokes intact before they apply all the translation and explanation and interpretation to the outside world. One gets the sense she’s still trying to sort through it all herself. For this reason, her music inevitably is called “abstract”; it’s an understandable reaction, but totally inaccurate.
Arriving on the heels of her 2015 road memoir Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt, which focused on Kristin Hersh's long friendship with the late singer/songwriter, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace delivers another audio-visual experience via a 24-track LP and an accompanying hardback book stocked with lyrics, notes, essays, and photographs. Published through her own co-founded nonprofit organization CASH Music, the double album is a purely Hersh-oriented affair, with the alt-rock hero handling all of the parts. Having that kind of freedom can be a creative death knell for some artists, but Hersh has always operated in another realm, both sonically and lyrically, and she takes to the open-ended format with gusto.
It seems somewhat appropriate that Kristin Hersh should reappear in the same year as one of the Pixies‘ occasional comebacks. For Hersh’s band Throwing Muses have always seemed intertwined with Black Francis’ group – onetime labelmates, touring buddies and sometimes – with Hersh’s step-sister Tanya Donelly joining forces with Kim Deal in The Breeders – musical collaborators. Yet while the Pixes have shone only occasionally if brightly since their heyday, Hersh has been a far more consistent presence in our lives.
Fascinating album-book from ex-Throwing Muse Since it’s historically been written by an invasive psychological persona called Rat Girl who writes and performs Kirstin Hersh’s songs almost against her will, her disjointed, impressionist lyrical imagery has often been as difficult to grasp as her cranky melodies. As a result, the ex-Throwing Muses singer’s recent practice of releasing albums accompanied by books of lyrics, photography, poetry and prose – a canny method of turning physical music releases into artefacts – throws welcome light on her troubled inner workings. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads .
Kristin Hersh — Wyatt at the Coyote Palace (Overlook Omnibus)Kristin Hersh’s new album, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, is both long and sad. Wyatt compiles well over an hour of raw, melancholy, intense and introspective songwriting. Only the special magic of Hersh’s ingenious lyrics, deft guitar-playing and elegantly simple arrangements serve to figuratively shield the listener from the deep, dark, emotionally wrenching subject matter at the heart of it all.
I began listening to Wyatt At The Coyote Palace with the knowledge that I, and anyone else hearing it, are to think of it as more than just a collection of songs linked in various ways, such as when and where they were written, who played on them, where they were recorded and who produced them. The combined effect of twenty-four new music tracks and an accompanying book, can only lead the audience of Kristin Hersh’s newest album to conclude that they are participating in an elaborate artistic project, one which needs more than forty or so minutes of their time. However, they needn’t try to take on every word and note, they can dip in and out of the whole thing as they choose.