Throwing Muses - University

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-01-01

With the burgeoning riot girrl movement owing a weighty debt to Throwing Muses' femme-punk blueprint, and Brit shoegazing bands like Ride and Slowdive finding inspiration in their more ethereal grooves, by their fifth album University, Kristin Hersh was clearly more than just a student of alternative pop--she was a fully fledged tutor. With former band mate Tanya Donnely hitting paydirt in her new band Belly, and the Muses--that's songwriter Hersh, bassist Bernard Georges, and drummer David Narcizo--entering their 11th year, there was some doubt if Hersh could still make relevant music. University, thankfully, is more than enough to prove the detractors wrong. The gleefully dynamic opening barrage--the hooky "Bright Yellow Gun", keening proto-grunge fuzz workout "Start", and the taut, new-wave confession al "Hazing"--demonstrates that Hersh's finely honed pop edge is in full working order, while the more delicate, folkier likes of "Snakeface" and "Crabtown" pull the Muses muse in breezy, incandescent psychedelic directions. The Muses split after their next album, "Limbo", in 1996. In retrospect, University looks to be their finest work. --Louis Pattison

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