Miranda Lee Richards – Echoes of the Dreamtime
Miranda Lee Richards has eclectic musical roots. Taught to play guitar by Kirk Hammet from Metallica, she was briefly in The Brian Jonestown Massacre in the late 1990s. This is now her third full-length release since going solo, but it’s her first since 2009. That’s a long time to be away. And it must have quite a trip, because over the course of 46 swirling minutes, she takes us on a wonderful and mind-expanding journey from her native San Francisco to her adopted hometown of LA, but with seemingly lengthy stopovers in Nashville, Rishikesh and other places in between. For this album is almost as eclectic as her musical upbringing, though with a very different set of influences. At times, it’s like listening to Jenny Lewis at her best. ‘Colours So Fine’ and ‘Tokyo’s Dancing’ are almost perfect indie-pop songs. By contrast, ‘Already Fine’ echoes the pastoral folk movement of the early 1970s with its warbly vocals and innocent ideals. And then there’s ‘Julian’, which is simply soaked in the spangly sounds of the sitar. It’s totally transporting. And it’s not the only moment when time seems to somehow slip away. There’s the series of chord changes towards the end of ‘Little Radio’, one of the highlights of the selection. And above all the moment at 3.05 on ‘First Light of Winter’ when the levee’s under threat and we have to place our trust in the good work of others. Miranda Lee Richards has been on both a spiritual and musical journey. She seems a better person for it. And, thanks to Echoes of the Dreamtime, we are too.