Jessica Pratt : Here in the Pitch

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Jessica Pratt Here in the Pitch review

The singer/songwriter tradition that blossomed and flourished in the 1960s and ’70s remains strong in Jessica Pratt. The Los Angeles artist’s fourth album, Here in the Pitch, is tenderly intimate and nocturnal set of songs, as if she’s having a reflective confabulation with herself in a half-lit bedroom with stars shining outside. As with her 2019 release, Quiet Signs, Pratt seems to be looking inward, the rough and tumble of the noisy world outside nowhere to be seen—just her intricate guitar playing and hushed vocals.

There’s a vintage sensibility to Pratt’s songwriting, evoking notes of Steeleye Span and Sandy Denny here and there, as well as the first four records by Scott Walker. And for music that’s so hazy and gossamer, there is a heft to her voice, which blends so well with the gorgeous material, like standout first single “Life Is.” It’s hypnotic with guitar and percussion that softly marches in the background, a bit richer and more animated than what follows. 

The second track, “Better Hate,” captures the lush soul-pop sound of Dusty Springfield, particularly in Pratt’s vocals and its blanket of reverb. If the composition was a fabric, it’d be cashmere. Wrapping yourself up in Pratt’s music is wonderful, luxurious even. And if it doesn’t quite give off snuggling in the cold of winter vibes, it also evokes hazy summer napping in the dappled shade. The care and consideration for tone in each track and the album was a whole experience is masterful.

Pratt has clearly grown and found her voice since her 2012 debut album and its follow-up, 2015’s On Your Own Love Again. That second album still exhibits her dreamy vocals, but here, the backing instrumentals are not as hushed, not as draped in woolly cloth. They’re more present and alert. Stating in a press release that she wanted “big panoramic sounds that make you think of the ocean and California,” Pratt delivers on that goal exquisitely, without overplaying this soundscape. “Get Your Head Out” is a bit more urgent. The pace seems quicker, the guitar not as washed-out by reverb and synths. It also has a bit of a Brazilian flavor to it, a bossa nova sway and sweep—something that Marcos Valle and Stacey Kent might duet on. 

A few songs veer off course a bit—“Nowhere It Was” is more buzzing than humming. The backing synths are more wasp than honeybee. There’s just something off about the composition. But it’s not long before we’re swept back into the softer tones with “Glances,” a brief piece sans vocals, and “The Last Year.” Though the first half is the stronger of the two, Here in the Pitch never feels unstable or unbalanced. It’s rife with many great moments to nestle into and relax the day away with. When the outside world is a nonstop barrage of anxiety, Pratt offers a quiet spot that doesn’t judge, that allows for introspection—or at least the opportunity to switch off for a moment.

Label: Mexican Summer

Year: 2024

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Jessica Pratt Here in the Pitch review

Jessica Pratt : Here in the Pitch

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