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Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses (4AD)

The Throwing Muses are back - the real Throwing Muses. Yes, Kristin and Tanya have obviously made up their differences because Tanya Donnelly is back on board. OK, she only guests on five tracks, the band is still largely Kristin's project, but still... Anyway, this is a delicious reminder of how indie music should be done, razor-sharp guitars, thumping quirky beats, topped with eclectic lyrics and a unique voice (or two).

But, this isn't just a blast from the past, it's not "Hunkpapa" or "The Real Ramona" redone, this is a more mature version of the Throwing Muses. That's not to say they don't rock, the cow-punk sound of opener 'Mercury' would blow the socks of many of the young punks out there, while closer 'Flying' has an almost metal sound, big and fucking heavy.

The only disappointment with this is that it's not a full reunion, Tanya only features on five tracks. When she does, it's obvious what made the band so fabulous in the early days: two very different voices in an uneasy alliance, not quite complementing or contrasting. This is absolutely crystal clear on the slower tracks, 'Epiphany' and 'Half blast'. When she's not there, the tracks are still great, but there's obviously something missing. That's an impression that had faded since she first left, but it's brought back with a vengeance here.

Still, though, it's great to have the Muses back and even greater to have Tanya back with them, if only in small doses. Here's hoping she gets to play a bigger part next time around.

Donnacha DeLong

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