4AD - 2003 - 51 mins

The reunion of Kristin Hersh with former bandmate Tanya Donnelly fires up thoughts of Hersh's solo career, Donnelly's group Belly and the band they both have in common all melting together into one big treat. But that's as far as this album gets and listening to it only leaves you hungry for past glories.

Recorded over three weekends in November 2001, it sounds more like a rehearsal with the return of 'Prodigal Muse' Donnelly unable to lift the setlist. The songs are raw and skeletal with a sound that's closer to US hardcore and punk rock energy than previous Hersh & Co glories.

One track blurs into another and it is left to the best track, 'Half Blast', to show you just how much is missing. If this is the Muses' version of a garage record, maybe the best place for people to hear it was over their website, where the rough and ready would have some kind of context.

You can listen to previous Throwing Muses albums and, even after one encounter, you'll remember plenty. This one takes a lot more work for a lot less return.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Mercury - Pretty or Not - Civil Disobedience - Pandora's Box - Status Quo - Speed and Sleep - Portia - SolarDip - Epiphany - Los Flamingos - Half Blast - Flying