Four albums into her career and Marnie Stern is doing a solid job of establishing herself as a force of nature. On this record she is achingly raw and blazingly industrial, nee noring her way through a set of siren songs that are as beguiling as they are confrontational. The finger-tapping, for which she has become infamous, is as well used here as ever, but her voice is percussive too, almost Sue Tompkins-esque – capable of rollercoastering rhythms and exploiting every inch of its Minnie Mouse timbre, in short, making no apologies for its lack of stereotypical, rock credentials. The songs are about fantasy, struggle and the total mystery of being who you are. “You’re gonna need a sledgehammer to walk in my shoes,” she sings. Maybe the footprints of this slight prodigy are light, but the tracks are clearly visible. Stern well deserves her place alongside Hersh, Phair, Deal and Hatfield as an artist putting herself at the front of her music and compromising nothing.

Read all of our new album reviews here, in this month’s Loud And Quiet

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