10,000 Maniacs: Love Among The Ruins

10,000 Maniacs: Love Among The Ruins

A month or two ago, a Misfits reunion album came out, despite the fact that original lead singer Glenn Danzig had long since departed to form Danzig. Now, coincidentally enough on the same record label, there's a brand-new 10,000 Maniacs album—which, of course, does not feature now-solo former frontwoman Natalie Merchant (or Danzig, for that matter). The crazy thing about both 10,000 Maniacs and Misfits isn't that the remaining band members are carrying on without their original leaders—and for all practical purposes, their original identities—but that neither Misfits' American Psycho nor 10,000 Maniacs' Love Among The Ruins is a bad album at all. In 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant has been capably replaced by former backup singer Mary Ramsey, and since she's used to singing in the group behind Merchant, she's already adequately equipped to sing her longtime colleagues' new compositions. Everything here is as chiming and hummable as anything Merchant did with 10,000 Maniacs; the difference is that Ramsey isn't as instantly recognizable as a vocalist—or as driven by egotistical excess. Now, we're not talking about an earthshattering record here: This is safe, entirely inoffensive stuff. But old fans of 10,000 Maniacs' pretty, earnest music shouldn't be too quick to dismiss Love Among The Ruins just because Merchant decided to leave the band and start making insufferable solo records.

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