Album recommendation: Kristin Hersh – Hips and Makers

Here’s the thing about Kristin Hersh: she’s a fucking goddess. A goddess, I might add, to whom far too little attention is paid. She’s also lead singer and guitarist for Throwing Muses, but that’s another story.

I first happened upon Hersh as an angst-ridden fifteen year old, but unlike many of the albums I came to depend upon at that tender age, this one remains indispensable.

The incredible impact of the title track is characteristic of the whole album, based as it is on phenomenal impressionistic lyrics, accompanied by beautiful accomplished acoustic guitar, with the occasional violin or piano murmuring in the background.

The imagery in her songs often takes one unawares, wrenching the everyday into an entirely different register to present it anew (Eichenbaum would be impressed). In ‘Your Ghost’, the simple act of awaiting a phone call becomes a riveting encounter with the rawest human experience. Quite possibly the most beautiful song ever written, it also happens to be a duet with Michael Stipe.

Alongside all this delicate, fragile beauty come bestial songs such as ‘A Loon’ and ‘Sundrops’, in which Hersh violently beats her guitar into submission whilst her impassioned vocals grow fiercer and louder to the point of collapse.

Cuttingly, fearsomely intelligent in her poetry, Hersh is in a class of her own. Forgive my hyperbole, but I simply couldn’t be more enthusiastic about this album.

Words: Helen True

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