Finally JULIA HOLTER’s long awaited third record Loud City Song is released via the famous British label Domino. The American singer-songwriter still keeps her typical mysterious sound – known from the two predecessors Tragedy and Ekstasis. Venturous she increases her sound spectrum in Loud City Song: you can find whispered, spoken parts in some songs (e.g. Maxim’s I), nervous strings which churn the record and real background noises like people talking and birds chirping.
This time the album is inspired by classical literature – just like her debut record Tragedy. The novel and also play Gigi is the imbue source. It’s about a young girl named Gigi which lives in Paris about the year 1900. She’s turning into a mistress without knowing that. HOLTER projects this story on the present Los Angeles: gossip, urban medias and the celebrity culture are the nine songs subjects. There are especially two tracks which represent this book: “I was working on Ekstasis, my last record — and I’m not sure if I had watched the musical Gigi or what — I decided to make this song [“Maxim’s I” and “2”] capturing this particular scene in the musical where she walks into this restaurant, and everyone is looking at her and gossiping about her. Everyone is chanting in unison and as she walks in; they stop, and then they go about their business, and you hear the ambient sounds, and then they start chanting again. I wanted to try something more social, I guess; something that was more involving society and large groups of people.“ (Julia Holter interview with the Fader)You can really feel the people blaspheme about Gigi and her feelings in these two songs: HOLTER assembled their voices and these crabby strings which represent Gigi‘s indisposition. Sometimes the singer kind of exaggerates with the experimental parts in her songs. Horns Surrounding Me is quite stressful, especially the chorus. Then there are these two pretty minimalist and ballade-like pieces World and Hello Stranger – feeling like compensations to the taxing tracks.
Loud City Song is a record for discerning listeners. The sophisticated songs arrogate the sense of hearing- you can’t just listen to the album as background music. That’s no bad feature: you need some creations like that (as well as background ones), otherwise the music market would be fairly monotonic.