50 Foot Wave
From the bright crackle and spark-spewing pop of Throwing Muses to the smoldering intensity of her semi-acoustic solo career, the songwriting fire inside Kristin Hersh has burned for more than 20 years. Golden Ocean -- the debut longplayer from her new trio, 50 Foot Wave (following last year's self-titled EP) -- is the sound of a gasoline can being lobbed onto her glowing embers and blasting everything to kingdom come; it's easily the most savage, punked-out album she's ever crafted. Backed by Muses bassist Bernard Georges and Rob Ahlers on drums, Hersh tears through 11 open-throttled tunes with enough seething vocals and scything guitar to justify changing her last name to Harsh. Take "Pneuma," for example: Howling "Shut the fuck upppppppp!!" like someone on a steady diet of broken glass, heartache, and paint thinner, Hersh makes Courtney Love's old "Go on, take everything" refrain seem like a demure whimper in comparison. But once you get past the initial shock-and-awe phase, it becomes evident that 50FW is about more than just brazen immolation -- melody is on equal footing with noise, and irascible outbursts share space with an array of clever images and well-turned phrases. In other words, it's the same Kristin as ever, only cranked up to 11 . . . thousand degrees.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.