Julia Holter’s fourth album is her strongest and most focused yet. From the first syncopated beat of opener and lead single ‘Feel You,’ it is the sound of an artist pulling away any lingering flabbiness to reveal a perfectly defined, lean core. While previous efforts sought refuge in the sheer scale of their sound, ‘Have You In My Wilderness’ has the confidence to use space to its advantage, making its statements all the more effective and allowing Holter’s ghostly vocal to float higher than ever.

Sonically, it recalls the psych-folk and baroque pop of Ayers, Wyatt, Barrett and, more recently, Apple, as its intricate bass lines wrap around luscious strings and bright, shining keys (‘Betsy On The Roof’ showcases the richest piano sounds since Nigel Godrich sprinkled his magic dust on ‘Pyramid Song’). Lyrically, it is also a more pared down affair compared to the classic literature reference-dropping of previous albums.

Rather than nodding respectfully at the artists of the past, Holter now fixes her stare inward, shining a torch on what makes her tick as a human being. The result is a much more honest and more personal collection as she dismantles the nature of relationships, the subjectivity of honesty and the fragility of love. It soothes and it haunts. It embraces and it pushes away. I won’t pick highlights, because there aren’t any lows.


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