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Love Among the Ruins

10,000 Maniacs

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Album Review

Most observers considered 10,000 Maniacs dead in the water following the departure of vocalist Natalie Merchant. Instead of calling it quits, the remaining members hired the jangle-folk duo John & Mary, whose guitarist, John Lombardo, played in one of the original incarnations of the Maniacs. The revamped group's first album, Love Among the Ruins, illustrated that the band could replicate their signature, gently jangly sound without too much effort, but it also illustrated that the group lacked focus without Merchant. Love Among the Ruins is a pleasant listen, but Mary Ramsey's thin voice occasionally grates, the songs are uniformly slight, and the cover of Roxy Music's "More Than This" is an outright embarrassment. Even with those flaws, the album isn't a disaster, and the surviving 10,000 Maniacs have demonstrated that they can continue with dignity, even if their inspiration is somewhat lacking.

Customer Reviews

Proved the Maniacs were more than just Natalie

What a snotty review from iTunes. This CD is full of well written and well performed songs by one very capable alternative rock band. While not as good as the follow-up The Earth Pressed Flat or John & Mary's three incredible folk-rock albums, there are plenty of standout tracks here: Even With My Eyes Closed, Big Star, You Won't Find Me There, All That Never Happens, and the stunning beautiful folk-influenced Across the Fields, which hints at what will come with the Earth Pressed Flat. If this CD has one fault, it would be the production that the record company forced on them. As a result it is a little over-produced at times, but that is a minor complaint. Robert Buck's guitar is amazing as ever, John Lombardo's influence is apparent, Mary Ramsey's lilting vocals and haunting viola playing compliment her natural talent for melody, and the bass/drums team of Steve Gustafson/Jerome Augustyniak is as tight as it had been on Our TIme In Eden. Actually, 10,000 Maniacs has never really been this much of a band since before Natalie started dominating, with In My Tribe.

More Than This

I like this version of "More Than This". It is very different from the Roxy Music version, but I think it is sweet and warm. Ramsey's vocals on this are solid on this song.

Odd Man Out?

Perhaps I'm the odd man out, but I prefer Mary Ramsey's vocals to Natalie Merchant and have always found the album reflective and refreshing. I can always count on it to settle my feelings.

Love Among the Ruins, 10,000 Maniacs
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Customer Ratings