Add one part Feist and two parts Cat Power to imagine the airy folk vocals and minimalist sound of Holly Miranda’s debut studio album, “The Magician’s Private Library.” Miranda, who has toured with bands Nada Surf, The XX, The Antlers and Friendly Fires, is currently touring with Canadian folk duo Tegan & Sara to promote her album’s recent release.
“The Magician’s Private Library” is the kind of CD you need when you’ve reached rock bottom, when the aching has numbed you down and when getting out of bed seems unfeasible. It’s the beauty in the breakdown, the morning you know you’re over it: pastel colors and Montauk.
If the adjectives “dreamy” and “whimsical” are not revealing enough, the album’s single, “Waves,” is an enjoyable forecast of the rest. Her lyrics, focusing on themes like love, dreams and journeys, are supplemented with ambitious synths, strings and beats to create a definitive sound.
Other songs, like “Joints” and “No One Just Is,” give listeners a darker complement to the rest of the upbeat, informal tracks. The contrast between nonchalant and enigmatic gives “The Magician’s Private Library” a surprisingly polished finish for a debut album.
Nicolette Roque may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rating: 3/4 stars
Released: February 23, 2010
Producer: Dave Sitek
Label: XL Records