Kristin Hersch and Throwing Muses seem unusual as a central influence on a band or artist these days, Particular when so much of today's musical youth seem to think Gang of Four, Mark E. Smith and Nick Cave are more than enough. It's not I'm afraid, kids, there's a whole ocean of sound out there.
But Kristin and the Muses seem to be very centrally significant to London trio Big Joanie, judging by a cursory listen to heir second album Back Home. There seems to be plenty of Kristin and Tanya's dark, brittle undertow to singer and bassist Stephanie Phillips and Estella Adeyen's delivery and plenty of the Muses deep unease to the band's general projection. They've freely admitted to the influence and anyway they bring plenty of their own fire to proceedings.
This is certainly a different sounding album. I for one have got tired of hearing rather similar sounding ones from young British bands in recent years who think that merely sounding a bit like Can equates to creativity. But Big Joanie aren't reading from the standard script which makes Back Home an intriguing listen that invites re-playing.
The band also have an earnestness, a seriousness that is rather unusual nowadays. A sense that this stuff is actually important, it genuinely matters that brings to mind the likes of original Punk operators Patti Smith, X Ray Spex, The Slits or The Raincoats who also played as if something was at stake.
Whatever they're doing, it works. Back Home is a fine record and Big Joanie are a fine band. I noticed they're playing in my back yard early next year and I'll make every effort to see them. For now, this will more than do.
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