Learn to sing like a star

Friday, 26 January 2007, 8:27 | Category : Uncategorized
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I wonder what Simon Cowell would make of Kristin Hersh? It’s not a question that’s coming to come up a lot, but I just wondered, because the title for Kristin’s new album is related to American Idol. More specifically, to a regular piece of email spam she got, offering her (and thousands more) the chance to pursue their singing dreams and ‘Learn to Sing Like a Star’. So she chose not to ignore the phrase and used it to title her album (or so she said on Pitchfork).

I guess the answer to the question is that Cowell would hate Hersh. He wouldn’t like her voice anyway, I’m sure. But who cares what he might think? Hers is a voice which is as rugged, soulful and warm as can only be from a female singer-songwriter who’s spent many years at the frontline of indie rock. It’s one that’s distinctive and familiar to her many fans – whether fans of Throwing Muses, 50 Foot Wave or her solo stuff. Or most likely all three.

I’m more of a casual Kristin fan myself. I was mildly disparaging about the last time I saw her play, but I’m fully back on board now, and loving her latest record. Learn to Sing Like a Star doesn’t really have any surprises, but it’s chock-full of decent, heartfelt, soaring, even beautiful tunes, that seem to draw on her past, but present it in a fresh and appealing way. As ever, she avoids light singer-songwriter fayre by not being afraid to rock out. But at the same time, the addition of strings in just the right places works a treat. Of course, the long-term fans will lap all this up, but it would be a shame for others to miss out, because this is as good an introduction to Kristin’s rough-edged charms as any of her previous solo outings. Maybe the best introduction of them all.

Download: Kristin Hersh – Nerve Endings
Download: Kristin Hersh – Ice

Order Learn to Sing Like a Star.

Check out more tracks and the In Shock video at 4AD’s special player.

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