50 Foot Wave
Golden Ocean
/4ad; 2005/






If it wasn’t for Lisa Germano, I would marry Kristin Hersch. I know she’s already married and she’s about 15 years older than I am but, well, you know… No matter if she yells, sings or murmurs, her voice has an appealing dim angel aspect about it.

It was written in the Throwing Muses website that 50 Foot Wave was meant to release just eps about every 9 months so we expected 6 new songs but instead Hersch releases a full-length album. Is it a choice or a label advise ? Here is what I wrote about this in the Bug ep review: “I’ve been really partial to Kristin Hersch for a long time now and the only shortcoming I would mention concerning all Throwing Muses releases is their excessive length. This idea of just releasing eps and touring a lot is good news because this format suits Hersch’s catchy songs very well. It sounds coherent without ever becoming unpleasantly homogeneous.” Maybe I should think about retiring, self-quoting being quite appalling… Anyway, Golden Ocean sounds like Bug ep, only 6 songs longer. This album is disappointing in the sense that you feel like listening to the ep even if there are only three songs from the aforementioned ep. The thing is ‘Clara Bow’, ‘Dog Days’, and ‘Long Painting’ happen to be the best ones in the ep and the album.

Yet, I reckon that this album is great because it makes me like songs in which wah-wahs are used. And they are not used in the Sonic Youth kind of I make melodic noise style but in the mere and trivial use of the wah-wah pedal in a rock song. The point is that I’m the Anti-wah-wah guy. It just gives me pimples like people get goose flesh when someone screeches a chalk on a blackboard. The degree of displeasure I experience when hearing usual wah-wah sounds is equal to what I feel when I hear reggae. If you want to send me to hell, just make me listen to wah-wah reggae… I cannot listen to Led Zeppelin because of this horrid pedal. I preach for wah-wah free music. Anyway, I don’t know if it’s because I’m growing old and as a consequence become more tolerant and open-minded but I got to admit that, here, I enjoy ‘Pedal’ and ‘Sally is Dead’ in which wah-wahs are used to produce their usual sounds when combined with distorsion.

If you want to read an appreciative description of Kristin Hersch’s enthralling raspy voice and of her highly enjoyable grungy-power-pop songs, please just read my reviews of The Throwing Muses by The throwing Muses and of Bug ep by 50 Foot Wave. I have neither the time nor the will to paraphrase myself, Golden Ocean conveying the same spirit of her two last full-band releases, the same energy and rage that seems to come from the early nineties. The only surprise comes from almost stoner parts in the Fu Manchu-esque ‘Ginger Park’ and ‘Pneuma’ whose “hot gravel” riff is close to early Black Sabbath!

-SEB ‘soundtrack to Riga’ WOOd.

/june 15th 2005/