ShadowPlay’s first encounter with Miranda Lee Richards was a couple of years ago, strangely supporting feedback-laden lords of darkness and general rabble The Warlocks in as incongruous a billing as you’re likely to discover in the glamorous world of Nottingham. But from that day to this MLR has continued to unveil her voice as a thing of true beauty, possessing the kind of wistful country beauty that has propelled Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams into a mature yet impressive stages of their respective careers.
Richards has renewed her feedback-friendly ties in teaming up with Rick Parker, producer for the Von Bondies and BRMC among others, though there is little sign of this in the clean, crisp presentation here. The singer-songwriter from San Francisco uses a mix of strings, piano and most evidently a softly played yet ever-present acoustic to create a the kind of misty, sunlit record which could easily drift by but thankfully gets caught on a rock. It’s true it would be very easy for Richards’ often fully-stretched vocal chords wash over you without impression but distinctive hooks on the likes of breathless, lifeboat and first single early November confirm her place as an intriguing and endearing songstress and I have the feeling the best is yet to come.