This Julia Holter article was written by Felix Milburn, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
There was no real starting point for ‘Have You in my Wilderness’ in the way that ‘Loud City Song’ had with the 1958 film Gigi, and the tracks present themselves with much more clarity than those of Julia Holter’s other LPs. It’s as if the concepts that inspired Holter’s previous albums also restricted her, which reflects how liberated this LP sounds. A sense of tranquility engulfs the album, which is spared from the sometimes anxious and claustrophobic sound which appears on earlier offerings, leaving Holter’s distinctive voice and elegant songwriting style to be condensed into perfectly formed pop songs.
The record’s rich and organic production, which often features a double bass, a harpsichord or string section, makes the album feel like rummaging through a dusty old charity shop, a sound that acts as a perfect introduction to Autumn. Dream-Pop, Jazz and Folk are amalgamated flawlessly on a record in which each song acts as a piece of the puzzle at large. There really are no sub-par tracks to hinder the consistency of the album.
Holter’s songwriting offers us peculiarly intricate stories or scenes that often feel dreamlike; “It’s impossible to see who I’m waiting for in my raincoat” she proclaims on opener ‘Feel You,’ already setting the scenario which is at once entirely visual and etherial. “I ask a fortune teller what they whisper when I walk by” she sings on ‘How Long,’ and given how fantastically specific and bizarre her lyrics are, they can sometimes feel like menial dialogue from a David Lynch film
‘Have You in my Wilderness’ is admirably unpredictable on numerous occasions, such as the track ‘Silhouette’ which has a perfectly unexpected crescendo just incase anyone listening gets too comfortable, whereas ‘Sea Calls Me Home’ bursts intro a turbulent saxophone discord just after the halfway mark.
‘Lucette Stranded on the Island‘ and ‘Night Song‘ both feel like a heavenly miscegenation of Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush, descending into understated ecstasy. But it’s the album’s penultimate song ‘Vasquez’ which is it’s strangest and most wonderful, sounding like the jazzy post-rock found on some of Talk Talk’s later releases, reinforcing the album’s loose and striking sound. “Let me tell you about the faces I see…” sings Holter, and at last it feels like we really get to know her by seeing things from her perspective.
‘Have You In My Wilderness’ is out now via Domino Recording Co. Ltd.