Mulholland Drive – “Miranda”

Immensely skillful and tempered by life’s experiences, Luke Mulholland’s music is representative of a swath of recent young performers edging into pop world prominence with a stylized classic rock influence in tow. Mulholland’s choice of a primary instrument, guitar, is distinctly unfashionable in a EDM/hip hop world, but there’s undoubtedly still an audience out there for this sort of personally tailored guitar led pop rock. He isn’t necessarily remaking the wheel with his latest single “Miranda”, but he’s proving himself to be a master of pouring old wine into new bottles.

“Miranda” has an undeniable lilt from the first not quite reggae-fied, but definitely possessing a sunny rhythmic uplift embodying its longing spirit. There’s a smattering of synthesizer coloring the song and percussion stays busy without ever sounding cluttered. None of this, however, would come off as well as it does if it isn’t for Mulholland’s vocal matching up so well with the song’s emotional tenor. His voice is slightly unconventional, but quickly wins listeners over with its effortless charm.

His restraint on guitar is equally praiseworthy. Mulholland can, given the chance, dominate any song he’s on with his guitar playing thanks to chops that has landed him sharing the same stages with legends of the instrument like Leslie West and Johnny Winter, among many others. It’s a testament to his maturity as both a songwriter and performer that he doesn’t choose to do so and, as the cliché goes, serves the song instead. His guitar contributions come at just the right times and the production integrates them into the larger tapestry of sound with finesse and a sharp ear.

The production presents Mulholland and his musical vision in a manner befitting the material. It comes off as a polished track, yet retaining the needed warmth to connect with modern audiences rather than sounding like a self-conscious studio construction. Mulholland’s sense of song structure and hold to bring things into the mix at ideal points is impeccable – the chorus,, in particular, will likely linger in your memory long after the last note fades. Mulholland Drive’s single “Miranda” is a superb realization of how a classic guitar sound can strengthen modern pop and proves Luke Mulholland’s ascent as a songwriter, performer, musician, and human being continues unabated.

By j.hillenburg