Throwing Muses are an awesome band. Kristin Hersh has the coolest voice. She’s sort of aloof and distant but entirely sincere and immediate. Sonically they clearly hail from the 4AD school of Pixies, Blonde Redhead Alternative College rock but they play within the radio rock parameters on Bright Yellow Gun just enough to not disappear into the noise wilderness where ‘normal people’ lose Sonic Youth and the like.
University is Throwing Muses’ breakthrough album in as much as it has this one big single on it. Or more to the point, it’s the album closest to the release of Kristin’s own era embossing album Hips And Makers which blew up due to the massive R.E.M collaboration Your Ghost (and the fact it was totally brilliant from end to end).
After Kristin had become everyone’s muse on Hips And Makers she went back to her day job band. By doing so she brought me and a bunch of other MTV influenced lightweight neerdowells along for the ride.
This record (Bright Yellow Gun in particular, but all of University more generally) is a more accessible, smoother Throwing Muses record than those that went before. Bright Yellow Gun sounds like it’s from a youth movie soundtrack set in that era (the film would probably star Alicia Silverstone and Eric Stoltz). It’s a shimmering pop moment with enough character to stand out all these years later. The non-solo guitar part, the air of ‘once more with feeling’ in the vocal in the last third, the weeohh weeohh in the rhythm, then the real guitar solo part. It’s a passionate rush (that’d be the name of the movie then, Passionate Rush with Alicia Silverstone and Eric Stoltz, on Home Video for spring 1995).