Julia Holter Loud City Song

Julia Holter Loud City Song
9
Julia Holter's third LP (following 2011's Tragedy, which was based on the Ancient Greek play Hippolytus, and the timeless Ekstasis) finds its muse in contemporary '50s cinema. Ostensibly a straightforward, heel-clicking MGM musical, Gigi (the muse) strikes the modern viewer as a kind of accidental horror: in marrying Gaston Lachaille, a sultry and unreliable (if very rich) celebrity, the titular adolescent shamelessly punctures her nonconformist passion and learns to idolize her villainously bourgeois, elitist aunt. Beneath the glitzy surface there's a glossed-over disquiet that likewise pervades Loud City Song, a record whose eerie lulls and sudden crescendos are designed to emulate swarming paparazzi. Throughout, Gigi's narrative is more or less unmistakeable, although far from integral to the record's brilliance. Most vividly, Loud City Song evokes the easy, tingling drift of early Robert Wyatt. "Maxim II" flutters and peaks with a ferociously visceral sax solo, while "This is a True Heart" is so deliciously sprightly it performs the unlikely coup of surpassing Broadcast's finest work, in regards to magnetism and ethereal quality. Like Gaston Lachaille, whose sensational wealth somehow titillates the public, Holter is mysteriously glorious and fascinating in ways her pool of admirers cannot fully comprehend. (Domino)