20 Watts

ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Holly Miranda’s The Magician’s Private Library by 20watts

20 Watts gives Holly Miranda's debut a 16/20 Watts

Part of our Issue 21 coverage!

PREVIEW: VISIT Holly Miranda’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Branching out from her role as frontwoman for Brooklyn’s Jealous Girlfriends, Holly Miranda looked to distinguish herself in a shroud of 20- to 30-something indie starlets (Leslie Feist, Jenny Lewis, etc.). Of course, Miranda also had a leg up on much of her would-be competition. Along with her oft-mentioned good looks, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek helped her on her journey to breakout solo fame. His experimental influence is only felt enough to be noticed (though not overbearingly so) on Miranda’s debut The Magician’s Private Library.

For a debut record, Magician’s Private Library takes just enough risks to stand out, yet plays modestly enough that it doesn’t fall in with the piles of overly-ambitious solo art projects out there. With the help of Sitek and the rest of TVOTR, Miranda uses her album to create delicate yet expansive soundscapes. However, each song plays with its own charming, distinctive personality. The progression from the jazzy pop intro “Forest Green Oh Forest Green” to the lyrically sentimental, yet musically ambitious, closer “Sleep on Fire” is nothing short of transcendent.

If her musical prowess wasn’t enough, it always helps to get a plug from one of pop culture’s most influential, albeit controversial, names. Kanye West noticed Miranda in 2009, and highlighted her on his blog. Ever since then, it seems that the buzz is only growing for the young artist, and rightfully so. When a pretty face releases an album of mature, experimental indie pop, it’s only a matter of time before people start paying attention.

— John Cassillo

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