‘Have You In My Wilderness’ is a collection of dreamy, atmospheric, intimate ballads textured with the imagery inspired by various literary references, exploring familiar themes such as love and human relationships in a way that is enigmatic and slightly unnerving. The record seems to be drawn from a more personal source than her first two releases.
Vinyl LP £18.36 WIGLP341
180g vinyl LP on Domino.
- Includes download code
CD £9.99 WIGCD341
CD on Domino.
Limited Vinyl LP £18.99 WIGLP341X
180g vinyl LP on Domino + limited edition art print.
- Limited edition
- Includes download code
Firstly: 10/10 for Julia Holter’s dog. What a long, strange press release it’s been for the mutt with no name, no titles and no accolades. Having put the music video to “Feel You” in quite heavy rotation since its release, I’ve come to think of Holter’s dog as integral to the themes of ‘Have You In My Wilderness’. Long story short: that was a real cute dog.
Holter’s dog is also a sign of the times: if that’s the best I can do on the theme front for this album, we know there’s been a pretty significant shift in how this artist makes her music. ‘Ekstasis’ was a stoical and fantastical piece of chamber pop, so antiquated in sound it felt like the synth parts had been written on old parchment. ‘Loud City Song’ strung itself around how the public and their celebrities interact, considering Gigi, envisioning Kim Kardashian as her modern day equivalent. ‘Have You In My Wilderness’, though? It’s part made-up stories, part personal expression, part just fucking good jams. It sounds like it was made on a whim, finding Holter at her loosest and most carefree, her most themeless. In that serendipity, there’s time for a masterpiece.
The record begins on “Feel You”, which flushes away the idea of an opening salvo: it opens in a rush of traditional instruments and strings, Holter barely introducing herself before offering ambiguities: “My first thought was there are so many days of rain in Mexico City”. Okay then. The piece reaches the usual epic feel Holter reaches for, strings rushing through the second verse like a car released from a web of traffic. On “Sea Calls Me Home”, Holter barely lets a chord go by before she bursts in, singing the closest thing she’s come to a chanty. This jolly tune bleats between staccato rhythms and serene, doused vocal ambience, as if Holter’s dancing joyously through ocean fog. The kicker? She starts whistling.
I’ve been so stunned by how much Holter lets go of her old tensions on ‘Have You In My Wilderness’ that I’ve ignored the old-school in this album. "Betsy On The Roof” echoes “Running Through My Eyes, a twilit piano ballad that uses its final refrain to play urgent piano off against resigned violins. “Lucette”, with its off-kilter drums and dockside affectations, is vintage Holter, climaxing with an incredibly structured piece of storytelling, Holter narrating movements as separate voices set the scene and then shroud it in darkness.
You’d thing I was heading towards a conclusion, here, but what is there to say about ten respectively fantastic songs? Holter has often been considered an experimentalist, an artist for whom pop music exists on a second, incidental tier, but all there is here is joyous music, made weirdly. The sounds of clocks unwinding, glass breaking and drums crashing? They’re all just part of the victory lap.
8/10 Ian 9th June 2016
A fabulous album of which we're only just scratching the surface (metaphorically of course, trying to treat the vinyl well honestly). Domino seem to do their vinyl pressings well and this shows it off beautifully.
7/10 John Lewis 6th October 2015
Opener I Feel You has a wonderful feel to it and carries a beautiful tune that feels familiar the first time you hear it. However after this, unlike the other reviewers, the album never reaches the same heights. The whole set has a pleasant ehrereal feel to it but after several listens, and actually wanting to like it more as she is playing in my town soon, it just didn't get past pretty average to my hears. I can't point out any other tracks as better or less successful than each other as nothing else really stands out. It's a nice listen and a nice album and I am sure it will be a nice gig. But that's it really. Maybe after a few more listens it will sound better and if so I will happily update my review.
10/10 Paul C 1st October 2015
Ok winter coming but let Julia Holter warm up your evening this is so good on every front. The heavy vinyl and excellent recording makes this such an delight to listen too. Lad back but so detailed and containing wide mix of instruments this is a joy to hear Julias great voice take you on a great musical journey.
This might be her fourth LP and I have heard previous stuff but she has really raised her game on this release and I am sure she will win many new fans off the back of it.
Strong contender for top being in top 20 LPs of 2015, Norman team worn it out on CD I now know why.
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