Sunday, 11 July 2010

Futures and pasts

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...


Emma said...
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Emma said...

This is a much better find than the poetry I found under my bed last week.

a fog of ideas said...

Being that bit more enfeebled and older it was the first Throwing Muses LP that did/does it for me... I got it as a Christmas present (I asked for it) in '86 and it was an odd album to cosy up to over the festive season, all the more so as I was ostensibly a broad shouldered thick necked Essex boy... and still am

I didn't really pay attention to them after that

As an aside, I can still listen to 'Cannonball' without tensing up and grimacing but then I'd stopped going to indie discos by the time it came out and was spared having to be danced moodily at by gothettes whenever it was played

That's not a sly dig at Emma or, indeed, you, Sam