I'm in the process of moving house again at the moment, which of course means packing stuff up. I was throwing some CDs into a box earlier today when I came across an album I've not listened to in, ooh, it must be 15 years.
'The Real Ramona' by Throwing Muses remains a masterpiece that the band never even came close to topping. I bought this record when it came out because the whole world (well, as much of it as I could access from Grimsby) was in raptures about the band. The entire population of my age was split between who they'd want to marry; was it going to be Kristin Hersh or Tanya Donnelly. I was a Tanya fan, for your records. And this album became a staple of my getting-ready-to-go-out routine.
Listening to it now, it has a definite early '90s sound. Those slightly off-kilter, yet sharp guitars were being used on other 4AD releases, like Ultra Vivid Scene's 'Joy 1967-1990', and yet 'The Real Ramona stood out as a record full of soul for me. The nights I used to pretend to misunderstood to songs like 'Red Shoes' and 'Not Too Soon' were countless. Whilst songs like 'Golden Thing' turned a ridiculously shy 18 year old into a dancefloor regular.
Purists might say that 'The Real Ramona''s predecessor 'Hunkpapa' was the high point for Throwing Muses. They might be right, but I think that view is skewed slightly by the fact that the band were lumped in with a new wave of American bands making themselves known to the UK indie scene at that time.
Donnelly left the band after this album, and I never really got into The Breeders (and heavens, how 'Cannonball' grates now) or Belly. Throwing Muses are still going today, of course, but I lost interest completely after 'Red Heaven' which came out in 1992, and went in search of what I thought at the time were more interesting US bands. Still, listening to 'The Real Ramona' this afternoon has reminded me why I cherished it so much nearly 20 years ago.
Twenty years. Yikes! I better get on with the packing, before I die of old age, or something...