Kristin Hersh – Sunny Border Blue

Album Review by Mark Bayross

Who’d have thought it? While half-sister Tanya Donnelly, always the more user-friendly of the two former Throwing Muses, seems to have vanished after the demise of her band Belly, Kristin Hersh is still a musical force to be reckoned with. SUNNY BORDER BLUE is her fourth album after 1999’s SKY MOTEL and, while breaking no new ground, is a strong addition to her canon.

As befits her heritage, Kristin Hersh has created a bit of a schizophrenic beast. For the most part, she is content to strum her way through songs like 37 HOURS and YOUR DIRTY ANSWER, incanting the kind of bittersweet laments that we have come to expect from her. But at times, the guitars build into a tumult of strumming (SILICA) or develop an electrifying rhythm (SUMMER SALT) and you sit up and take notice.

Of course, this being Kristin Hersh, things tend to stray a bit off the rails – her unexpected wailing on SPAIN, for instance, or opening FLIPSIDE with the line “There’s always drooling zombies or at least one dick”. Her stop-start cover of Cat Stevens’ TROUBLE at least guarantees a break from Kristin’s surreal lyrics.

Still, SUNNY BORDER BLUE has enough to hold the attention for its 13-song duration. Its alt-country leanings are fairly in vogue these days, while 4AD fans will not be disappointed with this addition to the collection.

5 stars

Share