While aging has not brought Kristin Hersh the fame she probably deserves, it has done wonders for her voice. A quarter century of this stuff has brought Hersh a weathered delivery, croaking at the moments of despair and wailing away at the mysterious imagery she conjures up with her lyrics.
Crooked is unique in the sense that it was entirely funded by Hersh’s fans through her CASH project (Coalition of Artists and Share Holders), an alternative source of funding for artists that helps support her and others.
Not only were fans asked to help fund the Crooked sessions, they also had a say in choosing what material ultimately ended up on the album. Hersh also utilized her supporter’s mixes of the songs, weaving her vision over groundwork that her most devoted laid out.
The results are fantastic, with off-kilter chord progressions, strange rhythmic changes and eloquent wordplay. So much so that Crooked comes packaged in a 64-page hardcover book that contains artwork, lyrics and essays on each of the album’s ten songs.
Musically, Crooked is a loose affair with acoustic guitars serving as rhythmic instruments while strings, guitar effects and pianos dot the landscape of the arrangements. It is passionate, intriguing and mysterious—essentially the same characteristics that have defined her career.
Yet with all of the hollowbody elements that are present, Crooked does not stagnate in adult alternative monotony. It’s heady and uncompromising—in other words, business as usual. And while the beautiful packaging and lavish design of this record will surprise some, the material housed within it should surprise no one.