Kind of poppy, kind of folksie, but not completely either. Their early stuff (Hope Chest, The Wishing Chair) is really good (it's kind of new age with some reggae influence; the lyrics are also more poetic); their more recent albums aren't that bad either. Most people think they were better with Natalie Merchant, but Mary Ramsey is really a much better singer. In an apparent swipe at Miss Merchant, one of the band members (I don't remember who) said that Mary Ramsey was the only singer he had worked with who had perfect pitch.
10,000 Maniacs began with Natalie Merchant, vocals; Dennis Drew, organ, piano, and such; John Lombardo, guitars; Steve Gustafson, bass guitar; and Jerome Augustinyak, drums, and Rob Buck, on guitars. Lombardo left after The Wishing Chair, just before the band gained national success with In My Tribe. A few years after the release of Our Time in Eden, Natalie Merchant left the band. Soon thereafter, John Lombardo rejoined the band, bringing along Mary Ramsey, his partner in the band John and Mary. Not long after the death of Rob Buck in December 2000, 10,000 Maniacs disbanded. They continue playing together, though, under different band names.
10,000 Maniacs albums: