There’s always been something primal about 50 Foot Wave, something emphasised by new EP ‘With Love From The Men’s Room’. The key words here are exhilaration and abrasiveness.
For the uninitiated, 50 Foot Wave is the other band of Throwing Muses singer/songwriter Kristin Hersh who of course has also has an extensive solo career.
Originally 50 Foot Wave were supposed to be a departure from the normal economic models for bands – a touring band with record releases based on EPs rather than full length LPs. The economics of the live business have effectively removed the gigging option from the equation but the philosophy of releasing EPs remain intact as ‘WLFTMR’ is the fourth EP the band have released (fifth if you count the songs which supplemented the tracks from their debut EP on the one long player to date).
In terms of Kristin’s overall body of work, 50 Foot Wave is very much on the margins, but there is still always an accessible element to the EPs. In this case the first and third songs of the release, ‘Radiant Addict’, a blast of a song at little over two minutes driven by its metronomic drumming, and ‘Free Fall’ fit that category. In particular the latter with its abrupt time signature changes (which are very reminiscent of early Muses) merges the best of Kristin’s melodic sense, with the intense energy which characterises the 50 Foot Wave records.
Second track ‘Grey’ meanwhile is 50 Foot Wave utilises Kristin’s voice almost as a weapon on its abrasive, mono-syllabic chorus (which takes us back to primal. There’s a little less intensity to the closing tracks, ‘Nobody’s Tar, Nobody’s Feathers’ with its ‘aah-aah’ backing vocals and the spindly ‘A Rushing’ with its catharthic chorus.
The thing about this EP, and indeed the entire 50 Foot Wave catalogue, is that it is available for free. That might give some the impression that 50 Foot Wave is some form of vanity project for Kristin. Nothing could be further from the truth and ‘With Love From The Men’s Room’ is a potent reminder of Kristin’s continuing talent to mesh melody and noise in the most enthralling rock music possible.
Some times the good things in life genuinely are free.
Get ‘FTMRWL’ here.
Support Kristin as an artist by subscribing to her CASH Music ‘Strange Angels’ subscription service. More information here. And to read more about the economics about being an artist in Kristin’s position – try here.