Of the original Throwing Muses, Tanya Donnelly came the closest to mainstream celebrity; during the '90s, she even appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with Belly, her post-Muses combo. Nevertheless, Kristin Hersh, Donnelly's half-sister, was the heart of that underrated group, as well as the source of the fiercest intelligence heard on memorable Muses albums such as House Tornado, Hunkpapa and The Real Ramona, issued between 1988 and 1991. Hersh's subsequent solo work hasn't always stung like the stuff she made with that band, but it's been consistently smart and emotive -- and the cheekily titled Learn to Sing Like a Star, recently released by Yep Roc, is no exception. Cuts such as "In Shock" and "Peggy Lee" are distinguished by strong melodies, striking arrangements that make fine use of cello and violin, and Hersh's idiosyncratic vocals, which are more raw than they were back in the day -- and all the better for it. Although she never became famous, she never became boring, either. That's something mighty few celebrities can claim
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