Kelly Pratt might not be a household name, but if you are a regular Foam Hands reader chances are that you’ll have seen him live or own at least one album he’s played on. For the past half-decade Pratt has been a full-time member of Zach Condon’s gypsy-pop troupe Beirut, but the Bloomington, Kentucky-born multi-instrumentalist has also contributed trumpet, flugelhorn, euphonium, French horn and flute to recordings by Coldplay, A-Camp, Harlem Shakes, Herman Dune, Escort and Bishop Allen, toured the world with Arcade Fire and formed part of the brass section that accompanied LCD Soundsystem at their Madison Square Garden farewell shows last April. In 2010, Pratt assembled a small army of former collaborators – including LCD drummer Pat Mahoney – under the name Team B to record an album of his own songs; now he’s back as Bright Moments, with a new group and a bolder, more expansive sound. With brassy fanfares front and center and a subtle undercurrent of gently buzzing electronica, Natives (mixed by Spoon’s Jim Eno) proves Pratt is much more than just a background player, and whilst a number of its tracks – “Tourists”, “Ghost Dance 1”, “Milwaukee” – share with Beirut a certain global folk feel and a way with a melancholy but uplifting melody, they are sprinkled with enough percussive quirks and spiraling synth hooks to give the record an identity all of its own. Particular highlights are “Travelers”, a riot of blaring horns and Mariachi rhythms, the Shins-y indie-pop of “The Sailor” and “Travelling Light”, a propulsive collage of handclaps and rhythmic tics (sampled from – among other things – the sound of splashing bath water), but the album is filler-free and consistently engaging from start to finish. As a pseudonym, Bright Moments is pretty apt: Natives has them in spades.
Natives is out February 21 on Luaka Bop