Kristin Hersh, genius behind Throwing Muses, dropped a new EP with her trio, 50 Foot Wave, a few months ago. Somehow I missed it back then, and that's a shame 'cause 1) I've been a big fan of anything Kristin-related for nearly 30 years now, and, 2) it's awesome! Read on.
Bath White offers up what can best be described as that 50 Foot Wave vibe right from the start. The band -- Kristin, Bernard Georges on bass, and Rob Ahlers on drums -- work up a shuffling hook on the title cut that unfurls with a bit of menace. Superbly lanky, the tune reminds one of how much great work Kristin has done outside Throwing Muses and her own impressive solo career (she's prepping a new 2CD-and-book set for release in the very near-future). If the humorously-titled "God's Not a Dick" rocks in the manner of Real Ramona-era Muses jams, the near-punk-y "Human" offers up the sort of time signatures favored by a whole slew of Dischord bands, the influence of Kristin's earlier groups shining through as she takes inspiration in turn from the whole post-rock generation of acts. "St. Christopher" echoes tunes from the first 50 Foot Wave releases, while the affecting "Rattled" shimmers in the manner of stuff on 4AD back in the Eighties when the Muses were busy ruling the label. The all-too-brief "Sun Salute" closes the EP with a nod back to the sound Hersh favored on "Snailhead" and other earlier Throwing Muses gems. If her voice here is not quite as corrosive, she's at least settled into a style that suits her as middle-aged rock legend, and it's a style every bit as distinctive as the wails on her early albums with Throwing Muses, those albums that soundtracked my youth so memorably.
While you're waiting for the new Kristin Hersh double-album, enjoy this 50 Foot Wave release. Bath White is, like everything this trio has cranked out, propulsive and invigorating post-punk, full of life and musical inventiveness. More than perhaps any other Kristin Hersh-project in the last few decades, there's a synergy here among the players that is amazing. If jazz guys played rock it wouldn't sound like fusion -- it would sound just like this.