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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tanya Donelly: This Hungry Life

    Tanya Donelly: This Hungry Life

    From the opening notes of This Hungry Life, the sheer magnitude of Tanya Donelly’s talent hits you like a force of nature.

    “”It’s June/And I’m still wearing my boots/Come soon/Back to New England,”” Donelly belts on the opening track “”New England,”” wrapping the listener around her honeyed voice.

    A new Donelly album is always a treat, and the co-founder of Throwing Muses, the Breeders and Belly (as she is often touted) sounds more confident than she ever has.

    The shy singer-songwriter once preferred to leave the spotlight to others, playing the George Harrison role to stepsister Kristin Hersh in Throwing Muses and to Kim Deal in the Breeders.

    This Hungry Life is a live album, but it consists of all brand-new material, with the exception of two songs: the spirited “”Days of Grace,”” which Donelly previously recorded on the hard-to-find Sleepwalk EP, and fittingly, a delicate cover of Harrison’s “”Long Long Long.””

    In recent years, Donelly has added a country element to her particular brand of fizzy pop songs, much like Throwing Muses did in its early days. She injects a fiddle here, a rollicking beat there and one can hear the smile in her voice. It works beautifully, with Donelly coming off as a less-twangy Emmylou Harris or a bubblier Neko Case.

    This Hungry Life boasts a richness and warmth missing on her last album, Whiskey Tango Ghosts. Age, as it should, has been kind to Donelly, giving her both wisdom and grace. She still writes effervescent pop songs with a quirky, unsettling edge, but she has become comfortable in her own skin. Like a fine wine, she has gotten better with age.

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