The Grotto

  • Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Mar 4, 2003

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. 100
    It is simple, winding, hypnotic and beautiful, and it makes being human bearable for a while -- without in any way detracting from its essential tragedy.
  2. There's something in Hersh's hushed, otherworldly hymns about dysfunction and off-center mental states that's deeply unsettling--in all the right ways. [14 Mar 2003, p.67]
  3. The Grotto is a deeply meditative, ambient recording that manages to seem more spare than 1999's Strange Angels, harking all the way back to Hips and Makers.
  4. 80
    Hersh's voice is measured, husky, and quietly defiant, the sound of the [Throwing] Muses' ambient alter ego. [Apr 2003, p.97]
  5. Possibly the best Kristin Hersh solo album since 1994's classic Hips & Makers.
  6. Her voice, raspy and harsh against the gently ringing acoustic guitar, makes you expect a gloomy, even maudlin disc. But that can distract from what makes it great: its ambiguity, the way she expresses herself in such strangely personal terms yet never settles on an emotional tone.
  7. Hersh has also masterfully tamed her potent vocal quirks here, using them to tease one moment and hypnotize the next.
  8. The Grotto isn't the type of record that will win Hersh many new admirers, but it will send longtime fans into fits of ecstasy.
  9. 70
    Its 10 minimalist songs mine a vein of laconic broodiness. [Apr 2003, p.110]
  10. An exquisite addition to the canon. [Apr 2003, p.104]
  11. 60
    Sweet, spooky harmonies, partly inspired by the death of a close relative, given a naked acoustic production. [May 2003, p.125]
  12. It's an uneven set, relying strongly on her performance to carry the songs forward. [#229, p.68]
  13. The songs, while as elegant and naturally paced as they've ever been, tend to merely drift along.
  14. It doesn't take long for her aimless acoustic picking and postgraduate lyrical poetry to dissipate into a dull gray haze.

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