“My heart is a violent one but I mean well”, says [a]Kristin Hersh[/a], aptly summarising her plight. She smiles with all the friendliness she can muster on the inner sleeve here, yet you suspect it’s not going to be enough to dispel in listeners’ minds the creeping air of dark psychosis in this music, the sense of someone pacing up and down obsessively along the precipice of sanity. [a]Kristin Hersh[/a] wants to make folksy music for everyday people but somehow it always turns out like this.
‘Sky Motel’ is Hersh’s first ‘band’ album. She plays all the instruments, switching between spooky keyboards, angular acoustic and cascading electric guitar. Occasionally the arrangements are a bit tentative but there’s excellent stuff here. ‘A Cleaner Light’ celebrates her new-found mental stability over a wash of wah-wah, ‘Husk’ is fraught with insomniac tension, ‘Cathedral Heat’ is a love song warped by its own passion. What Hersh considers warm is scalding to most sensibilities.
But don’t be frightened. Listen closely and you’ll realise there’s light, hope and joy filtering through these songs. Fortunately, however, Hersh hasn’t been ‘cured’ of her inimitably complex and fragile songwriting ability