In My Tribe

In My Tribe

In My Tribe gives 10,000 Maniacs’ cerebral rock arena-sized muscle: The album opens with “What’s the Matter Here,” an anti-child-abuse rallying cry. Vocalist Natalie Merchant tackles late-’80s societal ills with poetic grace, as tracks like the chiming “Cherry Tree” (a finely wrought portrait of illiteracy) and the two-stepping “My Sister Rose” (a broadside against single-lady stigma) pair her pointed observations with Robert Buck’s effervescent guitar lines. In My Tribe’s honest lyrics and urgent melodies update the American folk ideal for college rock’s golden age.

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