10,000 Maniacs - The Earth Pressed Flat 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Jason Karsh   
Tuesday, 18 May 1999

10,000 Maniacs

The Earth Pressed Flat
format: CD
label: Bar None Records
performance: 6.5
sound 8
reviewed by: Jason Karsh

Never feel bad for a band that has a major recording contract. Especially one that has put out as many albums as have 10,000 Maniacs. Still, this band needs Natalie Merchant more than oxygen. If ever there were an example of how removing one element can kneecap a band, this is it. The sound, the sonics, the lyrics, it is all still there--only that voice is missing. Granted there was nothing this band could do, she left them, but this album is as flat as the title.

It is difficult to punish a band for something they don’t have or haven’t done, yet knowing the kind of work they once produced, the songs they were once capable of, it is impossible not to criticize this album. Yes, it is still above average when compared to other bands of similar sound, but the old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be. If you have taken to the vocals of Mary Ramsey, this album will need to be added to your shopping cart. However, we feel this album lacks that final dimension of passion and emotion Merchant provided in spades.

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