Kristin Hersh – Wyatt at the Coyote Palace
‘I’m doubled over on my knees again,’ sings Kristin Hersh on her tenth solo album. ‘Only way I know how to be.’ Of course, the raw emotion in her remarkable songs has only ever been the entry point rather than the crux; as with everything she’s done since Throwing Muses began rubbing salt in their own wounds (along with sugar and dynamite), these songs smoulder with mystery.
Wyatt… contains 24 tracks of largely acoustic beauty, fraught with a tension that tantalises, comforts and baffles in turn. The likes of Shotgun blister like scalded flesh, while elsewhere raw verses suddenly bloom into delicate sweetness, keeping you on the very tips of your toes. Published in the form of a book (containing stories and photographs that may not illuminate the album's meaning, but certainly expand the conversation surrounding it) with the music spread across two CDs, it's a beautiful package, albeit potentially daunting to absorb.
Still, the obliqueness is only a challenge if you allow it to be; the depth of Hersh’s music has always revealed itself over time rather than through simple earworms (although they're present on the mighty Killing Two Birds). Secret Codes contains the record’s biggest clue, however, homing in on its subtly spiritual nature: ‘Sorta know how to pray / You just ache with hope til it goes away’. Beat that.
Listen to: Killing Two Birds, Some Dumb Runaway