In the wake of 2015's acclaimed Have You in My Wilderness, Julia Holter embarked on smaller projects, including the Bleed for This score and this collection of performances recorded over the course of two days at London's RAK Studios. In the Same Room inaugurates a series from Domino Records that captures reworked versions of their artists' definitive songs, and Holter's volume combines the spontaneity of her band's live shows with the meticulous craft of her studio albums. The setting gives her poppier songs more immediacy, with the bassline of Loud City Song's "In the Green Wild" taking on a dancerly sway that, coupled with Holter's sing-song delivery, gives the song a whole new mischief. Meanwhile, her dreamier songs have an added presence, whether it's the crisp edge the band brings to Tragedy's "So Lilies," the lushness of Loud City Song's "Horns Surrounding Me," or the transporting drones of Have You in My Wilderness' "Vasquez." It's not surprising that the majority of In the Same Room's songs come from that album, since these sessions were recorded while Holter was touring in support of it. Even so, these versions of Wilderness' songs emphasize the humanity of its dreamy Laurel Canyon pop to different ends; "Feel You" and "Silhouette" are all the more tender, while the mix of beauty and peril on "Lucette Stranded on the Island," "Betsy on the Roof," and "Sea Calls Me Home" is even more precarious. Each of Holter's studio albums showcases her skill at transporting listeners into the worlds she creates; on In the Same Room, she brings all of these worlds together in performances that are equally intimate and spectacular.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares