Words by Ed King
‘Richards sang in school choir, but didn’t consider playing music professionally until a chance meeting with Kirk Hammett of Metallica, who taught her how to play Mazzy Star songs on guitar.’
OK, so I’ll just stop there. And the award for Best Line in a Press Release goes to….
But a hybrid of ruthless American rock and the opiate haze of Hope Sandoval is not a bad summary, albeit somewhat esoteric. The more tangible outcomes of this encounter (queue lazy writer Beauty and the Beast references) are four studio albums and a bunch of EPs, with Miranda Lee Richards’ latest long player, Existential Beast, released via Invisible Hands Music in June this year.
Initially signing to Virgin Records, Miranda Lee Richards released her debut album, The Hearafter, in 2001. Having been a vocalist with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, a model in Paris, and reached the Top 5 in Japan with her single ‘The Long Goodbye’, you’d think this would be an A&R wet dream. But the partnership with the major was not to last and ‘following a non self-imposed hiatus after parting ways with Virgin’ (Best Supporting Line in a Press Release goes to…) Richards signed with the Terry McBride brainchild, Nettwerk – releasing her Early November EP in 2008. Delivering a darker sound to the lighter Americana of her debut, Richards would stay with Nettwerk to further release her sophomore LP, Light of X, in 2009.
We’d have to wait over six years for more new material, but in January 2016 Miranda Lee Richards released her eight track Echoes of the Dreamtime through Invisible Hands Music. Her first release on the UK based independent, this was followed up just over a year later with Richards’ fourth studio album – Existential Beast.
“It is a political album to the core,” explains Richards, “examining the issues of our time, but with an intent of tackling these difficult and sometimes taboo subjects in a poetic and heartfelt manner. The title is also a mash-up of terms, referencing the existential crisis that has in turn arisen. In essence, we are all still working with animal urges of fear, competition, survival, sexuality, which are deep-seated and manifesting in varying ways and degrees for different individuals, depending on where one is at.”
“A more endearing outlook may be to see this as an assignment working with the inner child, who at times can behave like a wild beast. But like it or not, these tendencies have been revealed, within our leaders, our countries, and ourselves; it is indeed a pivotal and transformational time and there is much work to be done.”
‘Lucid I Would Dream’ – Miranda Lee Richards
Miranda Lee Richards performs at Ort Café on Wednesday 28th June, with support from My Autumn Empire + Ryan Sparrow – as presented by Birmingham Promoters. For direct event info, click here.
For more on Miranda Lee Richards, visit www.mirandaleerichards.com
For more from My Autumn Empire, visit www.myautumnempire.co.uk
For mroe from Ryan Sparrow, visit www.ryansparrowmusic.co.uk
For more for Birmingham Promoters, visit www.birminghampromoters.com