Kristin Hersh

Possible Dust Clouds

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Kristin Hersh has so many sounds and words flowing through her that she has three musical projects and a thriving career as an author to try to contain them all. While several of the projects she released before Possible Dust Clouds, such as Throwing Muses' 2013 release Purgatory/Paradise and her own 2016 effort Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, were elaborate double-album and book affairs, she opts for economy on her tenth solo album. Clocking in at 36 minutes, Possible Dust Clouds is one of her most carefully edited releases in some time. It's not restrained, though; while Hersh excels at many sounds, it's always a treat to hear her crank up the amps, whether it's with Throwing Muses, with 50 Foot Wave, or on this album. This is some of her most unfettered rock of the 2010s, spanning the explosive, aptly named "Loudmouth" to "Gin"'s grungy chords and fuzz bass. In terms of sheer volume, the album shares a kinship with 50 Foot Wave's 2016 EP Bath White, but Hersh explores more nuances on Possible Dust Clouds. More than ever, she leans into the texture of her voice, using it as deftly as a distortion pedal to match the racket she kicks up with her guitar. She revels in her rasp when she sings about how she "can't wait" on "LAX," and when she snarls about being "cursed with clear sight" on "Halfway Home," it's classic Hersh. For these ten songs, she took inspiration from the concept of "dark sunshine," and there's an ominous brightness that saturates the sweltering "Fox Point," "Lethe"'s tale of beachy oblivion, and "No Shade in Shadow," a psych-rocker that builds from a shimmer to a glare. A formidable momentum carries the album to its fierce, hallucinatory finale, "Lady Godiva," where Hersh adds acoustic guitars that chop and glisten as they did on Hips and Makers. A stunning display of the grit and poetry that have been hallmarks of her music for decades, Possible Dust Clouds makes a convincing case that Hersh is becoming a more powerful, more creative rocker as the years pass.

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