ugg australia classic short boots bewitching and beautiful show at Sage Gateshead
Actually don’t, because while this show ended with some (rather dreamy and tuneful) tootling on Sea Calls Me Home, this was far from simple stuff. Instead it was a show of rare complexity and subtlety, featuring often experimental music that was both fragile and imperious, fragmentary yet overwhelmingly whole.
Some of Julia Holter’s songs aren’t easy to love at first sight and some aren’t easy at all, but there’s a fascination in what’s difficult and however erudite and challenging they can be, they’re almost always very beautiful.
The magnificent Have You In My Wilderness sailed high in many album of the year polls in 2015 and was, to use that horrible term, her most accessible yet.
In a perfect world she’d be hugely popular but with work inspired by Greek tragedy and early 20th Century French novelists, people may take time to catch up.
Songs like Lucette Stranded On The Island, Silhouette and Betsy On The Roof are full of aggravations, repetitions, collapses and whispers. It’s highly dramatic stuff, with layers, textures, twists and turns from this Californian who studied classical composition.
There are many lovely lyrical moments too. One song asks: “Can I feel you? Are you mythological?”
Alongside Holter’s keyboards are double bass, viola, sax and drums and they play music that hints at things, nudging, conjuring. The voice acts as a sixth instrument, sometimes the Cocteau Twins spring to mind. There are fragments of beauty which drift in, quite deliberately on occasion it recalls Astral Weeks and there really is no higher compliment.
These intricately composed songs caress and confound. Mini maelstroms might require some patience but mainly they give way to gorgeous flourishes.
Packed with ruminations inspired by literature and love, this atmospheric music is full of mystery and bewitching melodies.