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Hunkpapa

Throwing Muses

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Album Review

On their third album, Hunkpapa, Throwing Muses' volatility settled into a jangly, angular style of college rock. Not quite as riveting as Throwing Muses or House Tornado and not quite as accessible as the band's later albums, Hunkpapa finds the Muses in transition; most of the album's songs just aren't as focused or powerful as their other work. The over-produced sound robs promising songs like "Santa Claus," "Fall Down," and "Devil's Roof" of their immediacy, and tracks like "No Parachutes" and "I'm Alive" sound like rejected songs from House Tornado. However, Hunkpapa isn't a total loss: the wild, desolate "Bea" and harrowing "Mania" put rock muscle behind the wildness of the Muses' early work, resulting in two of their best songs. Tanya Donelly's "Dragonhead" and "Angel" continue her growth as a pop songwriter; though it's reported to be one of her least favorite Muses songs, Kristin Hersh's "Dizzy" proves that she can write relatively straightforward pop songs as well as anguished, complex ones. Though Hunkpapa is somewhat disappointing, the album's best moments rank among Throwing Muses' finest work.

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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