Loud City Song

Loud City Song

Don't get the wrong idea—just because Julia Holter has expanded her sound and her scope for her third album, Loud City Song, it doesn't mean she's leaped ill-advisedly into entirely foreign waters. It's not like the electronic art-pop auteur has gone country or something—just that after earning attention with the previous year's Ekstasis and finding herself on a larger label with more ears angled her way, she decided to open things out a bit. Holter's hypnotic, blown-glass vocal tones and gracefully angular, electro-minimalist approach to making music are still the defining factors here, but this album feels richer and more varied than its predecessor. Touches like the jazzy acoustic bass of "In the Green Wild," the staccato horn section punctuating the appropriately titled "Horns Surrounding Me," and the late-night piano languor of "He's Running Through My Eyes" all enhance Holter's approach. When she lays into an ambient-pop version of Barbara Lewis's '60s soul hit "Hello Stranger," it seems like there's nothing she can't do if she sets her mind to it.

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