October 28th sees the release of the third book/album combination of Kristin Hersh’s career. The title, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, is inpsired by her autistic son’s fascination with an abandoned building taken over by Coyote’s, and while the album features much of the confessional and personal songwriting that has littered her career, it’s not just about her son, but touches on relationships, stories and memories – but also sense of being out of control, drunk even, as well as being out of control, frustrated with life and a darker sense of falling and dying.
It’s easy to dissect the songs using the book, designed by friend and former Throwing Muses bandmate David Narcizo, which eloborates on them with Hersh’s own photographs and short stories, and as much as Hersh opens her mind into the record, so her lyrics are wrapped up in inference and poetic licence and often oblique in their reference to events.
That doesnt make it a depressing record, more dream like in its quality, with the tracks – with Kersh playing all the instruments having moments of fun, with tales of exploding amps and crazy tour bus rides interspersed with frustration at modern life,. depression and being out of control – ‘Does altering your chemistry put you in limbo? closer to dead? she asks on the brilliant bubble net, purveying the whole of the 24 tracks.
Musically it flits between the cinematic and the earthy, with Hersh armed with her acoustic guitar and her head full of tunes, some immediate and some needing some care and attention, but always interesting and affecting tunes, at the heart of everything. Over the top, its guilded with splashes of indie rock here (the brilliant moments of guitar solo in Green Screen) along with the experimental, the post punk and the folk. If you throw in her eerie field recordings and there’s every inch of the five years of work it took her.
As always, Hersh wraps you round her finger with her words and stories, and then kicks you in the feels with her beguiling melodies and winding arrangements, and she’s made an album that deserves repeated listens.