Miranda Lee Richards, former model and in the late 90s a brief member of Brian Jonestown Massacre (check the outstanding "DIG!" DVD), released one of the most stunning debut albums of this decade with 2001's "The Herethereafter", which was in my top three of the 'best of' albums of that year. Almost 8 years later, that album still resonates with me, with timeless classic tunes like "Folkin' Hell" and "I Know What It's Like". After that album, Miranda took to the road in support of the album, and then... nothing. For reasons unknown, no new record was forthcoming. Finally, in late 2008, Miranda released the "Early November" EP on iTunes, and now comes the long, long awaited second album.
"Light of X" (13 tracks including one 'hidden', 58 min.) starts off with a mesmerizing 1-2 punch of "Breathless" and "Lifeboat", 2 of the best tracks on here, just hauntingly beautiful, and it immediately feels like an old friend is back again. Miranda sounds and feels more confident and comfortable than she did on her debut album 8 years ago. The first half of the album is just STACKED with achingly beautiful tracks, such as "Hideaway" with lyrics like "So lay down your head/And rest your eyes my friend/Cause we're in this life together/Birds of a Feather". "Early November" is a song that should find wide acceptance on commercial radio, if that was still any good (which of course it isn't). The second half of the album starts off with a pensive acoustic "Hidden Treasure" (with strings arranged by Miranda). "Pictures of You" (not to be confused with the Cure track of the same name) sounds like another radio single to me. Nine tracks into the album and Miranda delivers another stunner, "Here By the Window", wow. The album closes with a short piano ballad augmented with strings, "Last Days of Summer", which sums up the album very nicely. It is then followed by the hidden track "Oddity" that sounds nothing like anything else on here, with a nervous organ undertone.
In all, this is a most welcome return by Miranda, and way, way overdue. "Light of X" resonates more and more with each listening. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! I had the good fortune of catching Miranda live here in Cincinnati (at Bogart's) when she toured in support of "The Herethereafter", and she and her band were outstanding. I can only hope that she'll tour again and if so, I'll be there somewhere.