Julia Holter’s last album focused lyrically (albeit ambiguously) on her native L.A. Her new one, the fourth full-length in her catalogue, is about matters of the heart, and its stunning textures come in part from the 30-year-old singer/songwriter’s ensemble of talented L.A. musicians.
Holter’s inflections often sound more Norwegian or maybe German than American, particularly on the third song, How Long?, which evokes Nico at her most esoteric. (Or perhaps her delivery is more old Hollywood than anything else.) And while her affinity for non-traditional songcraft – no verse/chorus/verse structures here, for example – remains, there are more accessible moments than ever before.
Opening song Feel You is a glistening pop gem that flattens and builds, moving between synth pop and orch pop, while second single Sea Calls Me Home is similarly buoyed by strong, memorable melodies. Vasquez is downright jazzy, fuelled by brushed snare drums and lyrics more spoken than sung. She leaves the title track for the very end, an intimate, softly sung beauty that manages to be spare and lush in equal parts, one of her special talents.
Holter confidently and impressively takes her music wherever she wants.
Top track: Feel You