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Kristin Hersh - Strange Angels (4AD)

[image: album cover]>Hot on the heels of Tanya Donnelly's first solo album comes her former Muses-mate's second.  But, in some ways, this is Kristin Hersh's first. It's all acoustic, with dashes of strings adding depth here and there. Kristin has a potential problem in her unique vocal style and is in danger of producing music that all sounds the same. But, this, thankfully, doesn't happen, putting her close to the Lou Reed/Leonard Cohen category where vocal personality and great songs add enough to the recordings that the lack of vocal diversity doesn't matter.

Acoustic albums can sound boring, but "Strange Angels" has what MTV Unplugged lacks. Kristin mixes country, folk, alternative and Cajun elements to create a rich tapestry of sounds. The lyrical content is typical Hersh - love, violence, drugs, insecurity and pain, but far from being depressing, there is a 'fuck it' feel to this recording where the music takes priority over navel-gazing.

It would have been pointless to pick out individual tracks, this album is a unit and works well as a whole. It's an album to chill out to with a quiet drink and a pack of cigarettes. Give this a few years and it might be regarded as a classic and well deserved it would be too.

by Donnacha DeLong