Possible Dust Clouds – Kristin Hersh (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I’m certainly not the first to point out that the most predictable aspect of Kristin Hersh’s music is that it is brilliantly unpredictable and it is this conundrum which puts her into a small group of true musical innovators. Possible Dust Clouds does nothing but cement this idea. What is different this time out though is unlike her previous solo album Wyatt at the Coyote Palace which saw her playing all the instruments herself over an extended recording period, here she has gathered around her a notable band – Fred Abong on bass, Chris Brady (Pond) on vocals and bass, and drums by Throwing Muses’ David Narcizo, Rob Ahlers and Kristin’s son, Wyatt True.

There is a brooding and melancholic quality to the album, which is sort of her signature sound, and her most poignant and powerful moments often happen in these quieter places such as the slow-burning Fox Point and the industrial-folkiness of Gin. But cutting dramatically through these more reflective lulls is her trademark rage and sonic rampage too. Tulum wanders through bass-heavy, grungy landscapes before deconstructing itself into less focussed creations, Breathe In is intense and menacing and Halfway Home is a beguiling collection of cascading emotions and meandering and resonating sounds.

Hersh has never shied away from discussing intimate issues but the way that such personal reflections are often buried in musical waves makes the the result wonderfully chaotic as if listening to subconscious ideas firing in and out of a train of thought. It is this cloaked approach that makes the listener lean in, pay attention and to try and draw meaning and motivation out of the music. The result is something that you may not understand at face value but which certainly make you feel and empathise with the sonic swirl going on around you. And that, after all, is pretty much the point of music in the first place.

 

LIVE AND LOUD’ TOUR DATES
June 19  Northampton, MA – The Iron Horse
June 20  Somerville, MA – Once Ballroom
June 21  Hamden, CT – S pace Ballroom
June 22  New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
June 23  Washington, DC – Union Stage
June 24  Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
June 25  Harrisonburg VA – Golden Pony
June 26  Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
June 27  Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
June 28 Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
June 30 Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
Aug 20 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar (as Throwing Muses)
Aug 31 Pasadena, CA – Pasadena Daydream Festival (as Throwing Muses)

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