A growing trend in 2016’s musical landscape appears to be female singer-songwriters with all of the potential in the world finally ascending beyond past expectations into a lane that is fully their own. We’ve seen it with Sierra Hull’s Weighted Mind, and simultaneously it has happened with Miranda Lee Richards’ Echoes of the Dreamtime, released on the same day. Both releases see their respective artists reaching that higher plane, and for Richards, especially, it has been a long time coming. First making her solo mark as an individualistic “dream folk” artist in her mid-20s with 2001’s The Herethereafter, it has taken Richards a solid decade and a half to transcend past previous criticisms and develop an album that is fully herself as she is in the now. Matured by her years of experience performing, a now 40-year-old Richards comes across as more world-aware than she ever has been, and, as a result, more of a fresh commodity worth lending an ear to than she ever has been before.
Right off the top of Echoes of the Dreamtime, Richards opens the album with deistic sentiment laced between lilting psychedelia in her instrumentation that her fans have become acclimated towards, at this point. Still, there is something more assured, more authentic about Richards in the now that makes her latest efforts come across as more listenable affairs, that makes her latest efforts come across as more than just neat experiments, but an entire adventure waiting to delve into. She takes us on a journey as she searches for herself, coming across as a spiritual traveler looking for their own personal light as she sings of her journey, critiquing world corruption and the state of humanity along the way. This is real folk listening with modern inventiveness tossed in for good measure.
Words: Jonathan Frahm