Invisible Hands Music IHCD63
Darkly Atmospheric, Articulate Tales of Love and Loss.
The slightly psychedelic and 60’s inspired album cover very nearly put me off listening to this delightful album for a couple of weeks; as I was expecting something in the mode of Pentangle or perhaps some Indie-Hippie pastiche like Kulashaker; but I was a little bit wrong.
Opening track, 7th Ray made me sit back and listen intently as soon as Miranda’s smoke voice entered the frey; as she immediately reminded me of Caution Horses era Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies). The lyrics are quite deep; but listening on headphones was quite a ‘buzz’ and took me back to those heady days of being a teenager; trying to deconstruct songs.
The Cowboy Junkies theme came back to me during the spiky Littleradio; an soft acoustic song but with a slightly Gothic edge when the fuzzy guitars kick in. Just what I needed in the aftermath of those Christmas excesses.
Aha! I knew she couldn’t get through this album without a cursory nod towards psychedelia; and it arrives courtesy of Julian; a rather beautiful song with a violin, cello and viola that could have been recorded in West London between 1968 and 70; but it’s not and will sound as fresh as a daisy to anyone under 25.
Later on Colours So Fine; someone manages to make their instrument (possibly a slide guitar) sound like a sinister sitar; an odd thing to do, sounding spooky and wonderful in equal measures; as does the song itself.
While there are only 8 tracks here; don’t worry as the shortest song is four and a half minutes long and the epic It Was Given clocks in slightly shy of eight minutes with not a second wasted; as Miranda cloaks us in a story of Percy Bysshe Shelley proportions.
Echoes of a Dreamtime is another album that should be listened to as a complete work; preferably late at night with candles flickering and the third glass of something strong and alcoholic by your side; but if pushed I would recommend the stunning First Light of Winter as your entry portal to see if you might like the album.
I mentioned the Cowboy Junkies earlier; and Miranda Lee Richards will certainly appeal to their fans; alongside lovers of Lucinda Williams, The Handsome Family and most of all Tift Merritt.
Although Miranda Lee Richards released her first LP in 2001 on the fledgling Virgin Records label; she’s actually a new name to me; but on hearing this beautifully constructed album; I will actively be seeking out her earlier work.
Released January 29th 2016