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Kristen Hersh:: Learn to Sing Like a Star (Album Review)

Her seventh solo album in the books, Kristin Hersh now has a body of work stretching back two decades to when her band Throwing Muses tossed the angst-ridden teenager directly into the indie-rock spotlight. Hersh has made great personal strides since branching off on her own, each record of engaging pop music serving as a reflective document of her impulsive lifestyle, each song allowing her voice to grow from young and girlish to broadly mature. She plays most of the instruments on all 14 songs, several of which deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Hersh once lived in New Orleans) and a personal misfortune in her own home. Heartbreak practically drips from Hersh’s voice when she vows that “getting up is what hurts” in the commanding rocker “Day Glow” or admits that “nervous energy keeps us busy” in the pensive “Ice.” As usual, the turbulently talented musician picks herself off the mat with the self-deprecating instrumental “Christian Hearse,” the Nirvana-like “Under the Gun,” and “Winter,” complete with tubular bells, strings, and an Irish-tinged chorus that is as triumphant as the artist herself. –Scott Holter