We gave it an A-
There’s nothing cornier than a lank-haired white chick with an acoustic guitar whining about life’s and love’s inequities, right? Okay, we admit Joni Mitchell is an exception. So is alt-rock vet Kristin Hersh, who just dropped a corker of a solo acoustic album, The Grotto (4AD/Beggars Group). There’s something in Hersh’s hushed, otherworldly hymns about dysfunction and off-center mental states that’s deeply unsettling — in all the right ways. ”Snow buries Whitehall/White powdered Nembutal/And I can’t think anymore,” she sings on ”Sno Cat,” and you know she’s felt and lived that chill. Concurrent with ”The Grotto”’s release comes a new, eponymous album by Hersh’s band, Throwing Muses. It rocks pretty good, but we’d really rather hear Hersh in stripped-down mode. She’s got our vote for the title Ice Queen of Acoustic Ladyland.