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House Tornado

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Album Review

On their second album and first major-label release, Throwing Muses apply more polish, craft, and melody to the challenging style they forged on their debut. The pop sheen on songs like "Colder" and "Saving Grace" makes their sudden dynamic shifts and tempo changes more accessible without dulling them. Kristin Hersh finds ways to mold her complex music into more straightforward song structures, particularly on "Juno" and "Run Letter." Tanya Donelly develops her own songwriting voice with "River" and "Giant," though both songs still feel like self-conscious attempts to blend with Hersh's material. "Marriage Tree" and "Mexican Women" flesh out the Muses' unique take on country-tinged post-punk; "Saving Grace" and "Walking in the Dark" are two of the group's best stream-of-consciousness meditations. House Tornado isn't quite as wild a ride as Throwing Muses' debut, but the album does prove that the band could expand on its unique sound without sacrificing any originality.

Biography

Formed: 1983 in Providence, RI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the greatest college bands of the '80s, Throwing Muses was formed in 1983 by guitarist/vocalist Kristin Hersh and her half-sister guitarist/vocalist Tanya Donelly with a few friends from high school. In 1986, the group's debut album was put out by the prestigious British label 4AD; Throwing Muses was the first American band to be released on that label. Throwing Muses' angular, anguished, mercurial sound had much to do with Hersh's mental illness (she suffered from a form of bipolarity that...
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