A daughter of the sixties, her parents being contemporaries of Robert Crumb in the Underground Comix world of San Francisco Miranda Lee Richards first came to attention as a member of the anarchic Brian Jonestown Massacre, appearing in the acclaimed film, Dig!, which, if you haven’t seen, you should. Echoes of The Dreamtime is her third solo album and it leans more towards what one might expect from a flower child’s child as opposed to The Jonestown’s more combatative efforts. Recorded at her home studio with husband, Rick Parker producing, the eight songs here are sumptuous slices of ethereal folk/pop/rock, bathed in a sunny glow, the instruments sparkling like reflections from a crystal pool.
Richards has a glorious voice, at times reminiscent of Laura Cantrell, which is heard to best advantage on the flowing Tokyo Dancing, gliding over the shimmering guitars and on the closing contemplative Already Fine where she’s multi tracked over a string section with the guitar underlay recalling the English folk revival of the late sixties; the weeping cello and viola melancholic. Lyrically she veers towards the self aware meanderings and symbolic portentousness common amongst some Seventies freak flag carriers (yeah, Dave Crosby, we mean you) but when the words are wrapped up in the hypnotic swoon of a song like 7th Ray the effect is just so appealing.
7th Ray opens the album with a bang and the following Tokyo Dancing promises a full garden of delights here. However Little Radio is somewhat clumsy, the guitars too charged up as if the aim here is FM radio play (if that still exists), the same applying to the menacing First Light Of Winter while It Was Given tends too much towards the twee pastoral psychedelic folk that stuffed record racks back in the days. However there’s pay dirt in the two songs that are the centrepiece of the album. Julian is a direct hit into the heart of the sixties, tabla and sitar pinning the song into the Indian music fetish of the times while Colours So Fine shines, its arabesque guitars and busy drum sound hitting a Byrds like groove, the harmonies soaring aloft. More of this and the album would be that much better.