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Boomkat Product Review:
Formerly of rock band The Jealous Girlfriends, Holly Miranda has now signed to XL and embarked upon a solo career, recruiting TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek as producer, with Kyp Malone and Jaleel Bunton contributing over the course of the album. One of the first things to strike you upon hearing The Magician's Private Library, is that Miranda's voice is a fine and lovely thing which virtually guarantees Feist comparisons. Sitek's production provides an alternate universe for Miranda's vocal to reside in however, far away from the poppy Americana of the aformentioned Broken Social Scenester, and much as was the case with his production job on Scarlett Johansson's album, the voice becomes just another instrument that takes its place accordingly in the mix. Of course, Miranda's a far better singer than ScarJo, so you suspect that you might be missing out slightly as a result of this, but this sonic trade-off means that The Magician's Private Library becomes a far more modern and contemporary sounding singer-songwriter record than it might otherwise have been. Sitek's signature sound is in full effect throughout the record, and banks of electronics are deployed to bring Miranda's songwriting to life. The results are impressive, particularly on tracks like the stately, meandering 'Waves' and the jazzy, brass-strewn 'Sweet Dreams' which rests halfway between TVOTR and Cocteau Twins. Even the ballads sound special, rendered as a kind of frosted, hyper-real dreamscape (whatever that is); 'Slow Burn Treason' finds Miranda and Sitek's bandmate Kyp Malone duetting amidst a gauzily minimal backdrop of electronics and twitching drum machines. Recommended.