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Miranda Lee Richards | The Herethereafter (Virgin America)
Is Aimee Mann having an influence in America at last? Will we now stop being stiffed with new Alanis Morrisettes? The sound here is quirky and a little trippy with those fashionable odd 60s production touches that'll remind you of old Byrds and Beach Boys records. The voice is girly but gruff - pitched somewhere between her out of The (sorely-missed) Sundays and Rickie Lee Jones. There's a definite trip-hop influence in some of the beats and string arrangements, but this is at heart a tarted-up country-rock record - the result is a sound refreshingly close to that of the recent marvellous Jim White album. This is Miranda Lee Richards's debut album; she plays guitars and keyboards, looks cute and wrote the songs, sometimes with help. Helpers include Jon Brion, of Aimee Mann and recent solo album fame, and the song she didn't write is a cover of The Rolling Stones' Dandelion. Then you get one that's piano/cello mellow. Then there's one which lasts seven minutes with big guitars, bells and cinematic strings. This could have been all too eclectic for it's own good, but it isn't. It's just perfectly eclectic for ours.
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002