Friday, November 4, 2016

Review: Wyatt at the Coyote Palace by Kristin Hersh

You know that wrung-out, strung-out sensation you get when you wake up wearing yesterday's clothes on someone else's sofa or the back seat of a car? Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, the new album from Throwing Muses singer Kristin Hersh, kind of sounds like those mornings feel. It's the leftover Chinese food you find sitting in your kitchen on a Sunday morning. It's the cigarette that you smoke, bleary-eyed, on the balcony at 9am while the world goes about its business below. It's the half-empty glass of rum and coke that you pour down the sink because you didn't finish it last night and the thought of drinking it now makes you feel nauseous.

Perhaps this album's hungover, barely-hanging-together appeal comes from Hersh's wonderfully weathered voice, which sounds like it was made to sing about the morning after. Or perhaps it's the relatively raw production, which makes each note feel like it's had a layer of skin peeled off it.

But then again, perhaps it's the compositions themselves that sound like they slept rough last night. Songs flit from one tempo to another like twitching, sleep-deprived eyes - check out the erratic and slightly grungey Killing Two Birds, for example:

This is a demo, not the final album version, but you get the impression.

That being said, my favourite parts of Coyote Palace are its most controlled moments, when Hersh settles into a groove for a few minutes (see the second half of album highlight In Stitches or the coda of Guadalupe, the dark and dirge-like number that closes the curtain on Disc 1) or - better yet - where she steadies her hand delivers an unblinking black cloud of a song like Shaky Blue Can. This is the album's penultimate track, and one of its most gut-punchingly effective: a concentrated shot of pure vitriol amongst a sea of nervy chaos.

No comments:

Post a Comment