Kristin Hersh has spent years confounding expectations, switching musical paths when you least expect it, breaking rules and going against the grain. Wyatt at The Coyote Palace continues this musical modus operandi by delivering an expansive collection of short songs, twenty-four in all, averaging about three minutes each. It means that lots of ideas and soundscapes are explored but none are dwelt on for longer than is necessary.
There is her trademark mix of slightly fey, cool, serial killer vocals and their intimidating, intense and terse delivery supported by an ever shifting and wonderfully textured musical vehicle. Often the songs are built on traditional structures, sometimes they wander into more post-whatever territory and sometimes it is just that the former structures are buried by the latter approach so that the result is a weird and warped, half melted song style. But would you expect anything less, Hersh’s name is synonymous with art-punk and subversive alt-rock; this is her world, her rules, we are just privileged observers.
Like the seminal Muses that she steered for so long, here the songs, whilst standing on their own two feet, seem to bleed and merge together at points and at others take drastic mid-point tangential flights. To the casual listener it might seem as if the songs have been pressed with the individual track breaks in the wrong places, such is the mercurial nature of the artist.
As always Hersh’s musical world seems autobiographical, inner and slightly secretive and if we find solace in the songs it is not because they are meant to connect directly to the listener, but a reminder that we all walk similar paths and experience the same highs, lows, loves and losses.