The Magician’s Private Library (XL)
The debut by former Jealous Girlfriends lead singer Holly Miranda is confident and self-assured, but it’s not her presence that commands attention – it’s Dave Sitek’s. From the first horn blasts of Forest Green Oh Forest Green to the echoey reverb of Sleep On Fire, the producer’s influence is undeniable. Unlike his last solo female collaborator, however, Miranda has the chops to pull it off.
Where Scarlett Johansson’s clunky, untrained monotone dragged down Sitek’s busy arrangements, Miranda’s breathy falsetto is the producer’s perfect foil. She’s prompted comparisons to Feist and Cat Power, but with her ethereal vocals drifting in and out of hypnotic, textural compositions, this is far from standard singer/songwriter fare. Fittingly, three out of 10 tracks have the word “sleep” or “dream” in the title. It’s ambitious for a debut, and for the most part Miranda is able to keep up.
Top track: Slow Burn Treason