Hearing Julia Holter’s music in a live setting is a transcendent experience. Her current band which features violist/vocalist Dina Maccabee, stand-up bassist Devin Hoff, and drummer/vocalist Corey Fogel put on some of the most ethereal shows. This creates the perfect debut record for Domino Record Company’s new Documents series, Julia Holter’s live in-studio record In the Same Room. Documents is a series of albums that are recorded live in over a couple of days in London.
On In The Same Room, Holter and her band play a mostly from her recent record, Have You In My Wilderness, and also reimagines some tracks from her earlier releases. The first two tracks, “Horns Surrounding Me”, and “So Lillies” are both reimagined and updated for In the Same Room. “Horns Surrounding Me” is stripped back to its core, gone is the overpowering horns and driving beat, but instead it’s a beautiful blend of strings and piano. “So Lillies” has a whimsical vocal intro that builds to something quite beautiful.
The rest of the record are pretty straight-forward performances of tracks from Have You In My Wilderness, with “In The Green Wild” and “City Appearing” from her 2013 record Loud City Song thrown in. These renditions are beautiful, from the stunning ending to “How Long?” and a breathtaking performance of “Vasquez”.
The two heavy hitters from Have You In My Wilderness are made even more epic by these recordings. “Lucette Stranded on the Island” is absolutely dreamy. It builds and builds thanks to an incredible clash between instruments, as the viola cuts through as Holter wildly bangs on the piano. “Betsy On The Roof” is a monster on the record and even moreso live, again taken to a new level by her live band. She follows that monster up with the upbeat pop-track “Sea Calls Me Home” that wouldn’t sound out of place on Pet Sounds or Rubber Soul.
Julia Holter is truly one of the finest songcrafters out there today. From her lyrics which draw inspiration from various works of literature, to her dreamy voice, to her calculated vocal inflections, Holter knows how to make one heck of a song. Add in the powerhouse behind her of Hoff, Maccabee and Fogel, you really have a fantastic record and a breathtaking start to Domino’s Documents series
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