Throwing Muses

Hunkpapa

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    5
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On their third album, Hunkpapa, Throwing Muses' volatility settled into a jangly, angular style of college rock. Not quite as riveting as Throwing Muses or House Tornado and not quite as accessible as the band's later albums, Hunkpapa finds the Muses in transition; most of the album's songs just aren't as focused or powerful as their other work. The over-produced sound robs promising songs like "Santa Claus," "Fall Down," and "Devil's Roof" of their immediacy, and tracks like "No Parachutes" and "I'm Alive" sound like rejected songs from House Tornado. However, Hunkpapa isn't a total loss: the wild, desolate "Bea" and harrowing "Mania" put rock muscle behind the wildness of the Muses' early work, resulting in two of their best songs. Tanya Donelly's "Dragonhead" and "Angel" continue her growth as a pop songwriter; though it's reported to be one of her least favorite Muses songs, Kristin Hersh's "Dizzy" proves that she can write relatively straightforward pop songs as well as anguished, complex ones. Though Hunkpapa is somewhat disappointing, the album's best moments rank among Throwing Muses' finest work.

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