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Sky Motel

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Album Review

Kristin Hersh's third solo album Sky Motel finds her picking up the electric guitar again for a collection of mature, mercurial, parallel-dimension pop. The album fuses the restraint of her acoustic work with the lush textures of Throwing Muses' later albums, adding Latin percussion and keyboards for a further update on Hersh's signature sound.

A subtle and layered album, Sky Motel's pop songs create the most immediately arresting moments. The album opener "Echo" pairs a jazzy electric piano with Hersh's sweetly abrasive harmonies, then explodes into a riot of spiky guitars as she snarls lyrics like "I'm loving everybody/ I'm hating everyone I see." "Fog" and "A Cleaner Light" mine similar territory, delivering the kind of angular, bouncy yet slightly menacing guitar pop that made Muses albums like The Real Ramona and University college rock favorites. Though the gentler songs on Sky Motel take more time to reveal their charms, songs like "White Trash Moon," "Costa Rica," "Caffeine," and "Husk," with their undulating guitars and quietly compelling vocals, make the album increasingly rewarding with each listen.

Customer Reviews

there's no such thing as a 3-star kristin hersh album

fabulous solo electric, non-hard rock album. Foreshadows her later, equally fabulous solo efforts, in particular 2007's "Learn to Sing Like a Star". There are things of hers I like better than others, solo and with band(s), but never is she boring and never is she less than a five-star talent!

Don't start here.

There's no such thing as a bad Kristin Hersh album. And Sky Motel has some great moments - but it is a depiction of an artist changing - at it's by far her most electic album. And that's saying something for the woman behind 50ft Wave (alt punk) and Throwing Muses (80s college rock). Still, Echo and Cleaner Light show off her pure pop chops, and there's ample touches to her earlier work. It will, sadly, evidently be a long time before Kristen Hersh gets her due as a brilliant, tortured and genius artist - think the female Bob Dylan. Look to her first solo work, Hips and Makers for her more mellow acoustic, or Sunny Border Blue for her more dark work - both make excellent entry points. Sky Motel is good, but not great.


Born: August 7, 1966 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After the release of Throwing Muses' fifth album, Red Heaven, Kristin Hersh, the band's lead singer/songwriter, took a break from the group and issued her first solo album, the acoustic Hips and Makers, in early 1994. Thanks to the airplay the single "Your Ghost" — a duet with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe — received, the album sold more copies than any of the Muses' releases. Later that year, Hersh also released the Strings EP, which featured versions of selected songs from the album recorded...
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