Record Reviews: March 1991
Hey, for a first tape this is actually pretty good. It’s only seven songs long, and the program is repeated on both sides, but it is still a good bit of thrash. If anything really coµld be corrected for their next output, perhaps they could write fewer words for each verse – or more music to fit the lyrics. It sounds as though Allen is trying to put two lines into one on each verse and the result makes it hard to follow the intent of the song. The songwriting is good, especially on ‘Preacher’ and ‘The Unveiling’. They might think about making their next effort a bit longer for this one seems to end just about the time it gets started. But still, we think it’s worth including in your local collection. If they happen to play an outlet around here, you should check ’em out. It should be a good moshin’ time.
Test of Time
This is a decent bit of tape here. The music flows from the speakers, filling the room with some of the best thrash we have heard from locals since Truce. It’s put together well, and the production is first rate; Although there are only six tunes, we feel it is worth the time and money to go find this one, that is if you are a fan of any real good thrash.
Of the tunes, we found that ‘That’s Not Right’ was the best offering on the cassette although ‘Ceptic System’ is also quite good. The bass lines especially impressed us though we felt, at times, that Jeff was forcing his vocals just a tad. Chad really pounds the skins well and Chance pretty much holds the whole thing together with his first rate guitar work. We would welcome a chance to come observe a rehearsal, maybe have a little drinky with the boys. We both got a kick out of the bit of extra recording at the end of ‘Ceptic System’, but whoever was tinkling in the toity really didn’t have to go real bad, did they?
Admittedly, I am in love with all of the Throwing Muses. This has been an ongoing, anxiety laden, unrequited love affair since seeing them play live twice.
Kristen Hersh‘s catatonic stares turn me on, as does the triangle playing of her step sister and part-time Breeder, Tanya Donnelly. But much more than pretty faces and objects of desire, these two women are crafty songwriters and incredibly talented musicians.
“Counting Backwards” is no disappointment either. Starting where they left off with “Hunkpapa” and moving forward from there, “Counting Backwards” takes tight guitar playing and rough, rocky, almost drunken, slurred vocals and blends them with smooth bass and drum rhythms. The Muses don’t use crash cymbals so the drums are heavy and at the forefront of the recording.
“Amazing Grace” is a send off of the traditional song in the style of the Muses. Kristen’s voice is twangy and country-tinged like good, black coffee in the morning. The guitar riffs are scratchy and overlayed with lap steel.
“Same Sun” has a bluesy feel to it. It also contains some of the quirky lyrics that are trade mark for the Muses: “That’s the same sun that burned my mother/That’s the same sun on your dashboard” and the schizophrenic, “I can’t lie/Some bitch gets through and tells the truth.” And finally, my personal favorite, “Cottonmouth.” Kristen sings with all the sigh-laden angst she can muster. “The more he likes me/The more I drink/I think the more I drink/The more he likes me.” The paradoxical musings of the Muses shine bright. Check out the bass line on this track. It is heavy and grooving. Bass, drums and vocals start out with layers of neurotic, acoustic guitar added during the chorus. This is Throwing Muses at their best.
Swim Herschel Swim
I Wish I Had a Ray Run
Kick Me Records
I don’t know what all the hubbub about Swim Herschel Swim is, from what I have heard on this tape and what I have heard about their live performances, they seem to be a pretty great band.
I Wish I Had a Ray Gun is easily one of the best local releases I have seen in a long time. Not only is it the best packaging on a local product, but the recording and mix is excellent. The music is good, but, I have a hard time not comparing them to 004, the band that taught Salt Lake about ska music. These guys have taken their fair-share of blows and have moved on regardless. It isn’t surprising, their music is good and this tape proves it. The tape contains 10 songs, nine original and one cover, “Ring Of Fire.” When I first heard the tape it was all great except their Cash cover, but after listening to the tape a few times I like it more and more. The song has been covered at least a dozen times, but these guys have added a new twist-a fast tempo, clever time changes and a beat you can easily tap your foot to.
Salt Lake has a drastic need for ska bands, these guys have picked up where most other ska bands have failed … staying together. Keep it up guys, and remember- any publicity is good publicity.
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