| January 24, 1994|
24 January 1994
Indie rock, Folk music
Lenny Kaye, Kristin Hersh
| Stable Sound, Portsmouth, Rhode Island|
Kristin Hersh albums, Indie rock albums
Hips and Makers is the debut solo album by Kristin Hersh, best known as the primary singer and songwriter of the band Throwing Muses. The album was released by 4AD in the UK on January 24, 1994, and by Sire Records in the US on February 1, 1994. In contrast to Hersh's rock-oriented work with Throwing Muses, the album is primarily acoustic, with Hersh usually playing unaccompanied. Other credited musicians include Jane Scarpantoni on cello and Michael Stipe of R.E.M., who sings backing vocals on the opening track, "Your Ghost." In addition to Hersh's own material, the album features a cover of the traditional song "The Cuckoo".
"It's personal, literally so," Hersh said, "Full of skin and coffee, shoes and sweat and babies and sex and food and stores – just stupid stuff that's really a big deal."
The album peaked at #7 in the UK Album Charts, the highest placing of any of Hersh's offerings on her own or with Throwing Muses. The album peaked at #197 on the US's Billboard 200 Albums Chart. It also peaked at #10 on the US's Billboard Heatseekers Album Chart.
Critics were mostly positive about Hips and Makers on its release. "It's clear that a Belly-style pop accommodation is just not what Hersh is aiming for," observed David Cavanagh in Select. "Her peers are [Bob] Mould and, more particularly, Michael Stipe."' "She is as accomplished a singer/songwriter as [Tanya] Donnelly," noted James Delingpole in The Sunday Telegraph. "The only place where it falls down is that the arrangements are so sparse (it's just Hersh on acoustic guitar or piano with the odd bit of cello accompaniment – very Suzanne Vega) that the songs, though cute, all start to sound a bit samey."
Spin raved that "[a]t once oppressive and impressive, [it] signals a rejuvenation for Hersh's muse" while Rolling Stone called it "[l]uminous, alluring and slightly menacing". On the other hand, Robert Christgau was neutral and didn't write anything about it beyond that. "Despite the delicate good looks of 'Velvet Days' and the title track," decided Andrew Collins in Q, it advances the Hersh cause for acceptance no further."
Allmusic was more positive noting the material was of an "intensely personal nature" and offered with "a despairing and introspective tone that fails to submerge her considerable inner strength and fortitude".
All tracks composed by Kristin Hersh; except where indicated
Kristin Hersh - guitar, vocals
Jane Scarpantoni - cello
Michael Stipe - vocals on "Your Ghost"
Vaughan Oliver - artwork
- "Your Ghost" – 3:16
- "Beestung" – 3:08
- "Teeth" – 4:10
- "Sundrops" – 4:02
- "Sparky" – 1:29
- "Houdini Blues" (Kristin Hersh, William James Hersh) – 4:26
- "A Loon" – 4:18
- "Velvet Days" – 3:52
- "Close Your Eyes" – 5:27
- "Me and My Charms" – 4:16
- "Tuesday Night" – 3:03
- "The Letter" – 2:47
- "Lurch" (0:36)
- "The Cuckoo" (Traditional; arranged Kristin Hersh) – 2:12
- "Hips and Makers" – 3:19
1Your Ghost3:16Hips and Makers Wikipedia