Among The Ruins 10,000 Maniacs-(Geffen)
It is pretty much universally agreed that Natalie
Merchant, as lead singer and songwriter, was the main talent of 10,000 Maniacs. So how is
it possible that this album, the band's first since Merchant left, is so much better than
Merchant's 1995 solo debut Tigerlily?
It comes down to stronger songs and the
talent of the band members. New lead vocalist Mary Ramsey sometimes sounds eerily like
Merchant, but that only helps in this case. "Rainy Day" sounds much like a
typical Maniacs tune, except for a hip-hop backbeat that somehow sounds perfectly at home.
The title track feels like an outtake from In My Tribe.
The remake of Roxy Music's
"More Than This" sounded like a horrible idea when I first heard of it
song was already done perfectly, and it strayed from the Maniacs' strengths — but I've
got to admit it — this
version works incredibly well.
For all of us that wrote off 10,000
Maniacs when Merchant went solo, Love Among The Ruins is a wake up call. (9/97)