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Something in the Room She Moves is a concise recap of Julia Holter’s last decade of mysticism

"Someting In The Room She Moves"

Release date: 22 March 2024
Julia Holter Something In The Room cover
20 March 2024, 09:00 Written by Noah Barker

After the long-winded naturalism of Aviary, Something In The Room She Moves' 10 tracks leveling out under an hour in length is a feat for the exploratory Julia Holter.

Returning from her largest solo release gap with a trimmed ‘previously on…’ for her catalog. While few moments across the record are unfamiliar to her usual ecosystem of sounds and genres, the ideas presented are either evolutions or revisitations with true force. They have grown in the last six years from seeds of ideas to towering redwoods, fit to rest in the shadow of. What she forfeits in newness, she retains in an intentional, living body of work.

This is not to paint Aviary as unnecessarily long-winded, as part of the innate joy of Holter’s music is in her restless tonal experiments, pairing together disparate tones and compositions just to revel in her newly created lifeforms. While she does not completely forgo these long-form instrumental pieces, the few that are included can make getting a strong grasp of the record’s M.O. difficult. “Sun Girl,” “Spinning,” and “These Morning” are accentuated with glistening choruses and direct core tunes, which can make an equal allotment of time to the vocal freakouts of “Meyou” frustrating on the pacing end. Even when six minutes should have been two, this is the Holter variant of compromise down from 12.

“Talking to the Whisper” is a vague descendant of the Springsteen family tree, in that it leads to a climactic sax solo, which is the only necessary genetic trait. However, it’s a surprising encounter while plundering the wild forest grove of her music to find a hint of the Boss out there; this may be the most primordial pleasure of Holter’s approach to songcraft. Creating new life through tearing bits and limbs from the past and sewing it together with moss is bound to make you remember the beauty each part resembles still.

The fretless bass evokes Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell, the ambience is emblematic of Tim Hecker if he only used live songbirds as instruments instead of synths, it's a paintover of the Mona Lisa done with flowers as eyes. But Holter is at the middle still, humming away as if the natural world isn’t encircling music’s closest thing to a Disney princess. She releases something new, or as new as old can be, and the sun has more of a reason to shine; it’s a thing of beauty.

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