Reviewed by Heather Phares

Undaunted by the departure of Tanya Donelly to form her own group, Belly, Kristen Hersh continued Throwing Muses as a trio on the band’s fourth album, Red Heaven. The pared-down lineup gives rock songs like “Furious” and “Backroad” a more powerful, muscular sound and pop tracks like “Dirty Water” and “Firepile” a crisp, spacious feel. Overall, Red Heaven is the Muses’ most rock-oriented album since House Tornado, especially on songs like the Bob Mould duet “Dio,” “The Visit,” and “Rosetta Stone,” but the band’s pace has slowed into a slinky, winding groove that is more solid and forceful than the volatile tempo shifts of its early work. However, the ballad “Pearl” rivals anything on Throwing Muses with its spooky unpredictability, and the charming, delicate “Summer St.” is one of Hersh’s most endearing songs. One of Throwing Muses’ finest albums, Red Heaven showcases Hersh’s continuing development as a powerful and eclectic singer, songwriter, and guitarist.