Kristin Hersh

The Holy Single

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Throwing Muses parted ways with Warner Brothers, and this is the first fruit of their new indie era on their own label, via Ryko. While this X-mas four-songer has all the elements of Hersh's remarkable solo LP Hips and Makers, including its perfect blend of Hersh's acoustic and her recognizable voice, the material is of less importance. Alex Chilton's days in Big Star surely produced three-dozen songs better than "Jesus Christ" off the otherwise landmark Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers, and even Johnny Cash can't make one think "Amazing Grace" isn't a tired old leftover better left to righteous gospel choirs. The Carter Family's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and a stripped down new look at the Muses' "Sinkhole" are better, but compared to the spooky, melting chill of "Your Ghost," this seems like the difference between a Bip Roberts and a Robin Roberts baseball card, as per the ESPN commercial; not bad, and fun enough, and maybe even preferable to the same old tired holiday music year after year, but having had a taste of lasting greatness, this seems like such a poor cousin. Were it not for Hersh's pleasing voice, and how well it sounds set to an acoustic, this would be better skipped altogether.

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