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Jessica Pratt: On Your Own Love Again

From NPR:
Jessica Pratt‘s verses wallow, at times, in tortured confessional rhymes, yet somehow, in spite of the faux-exotic accent and the quirky clustered phrases that avoid the common cadences of folk and rock, her words evoke and describe states of being that are more nuanced than their literal meaning. They seem to call from remote states, inviting listeners to visit this place that sounds familiar but isn’t. With little more than a weary sigh, Pratt flips the banal into the magical; she makes listeners wonder about the circumstances she describes. There’s more. You can feel it in the pauses, the implications, the breath. Preserving and extending the contemplative vibe of her debut, with On Your Own Love Again Pratt creates a series of dream-like miniatures that feel intimate and mystical-fantastical at the same time. Some transform the familiar into the deceptively sublime: on “Strange Melody,” Pratt quotes the doo-doo-doo-doo refrain of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf” in a sultry, musing way that fits perfectly into her scheme while magnifying its genius. Likewise, the blithe “Game That I Play” is anchored by a tightly scripted acoustic-guitar pattern that’s rooted in California folk-rock of the ’70s. The refrain continues the reference, with a bold Mamas And The Papas-style wordless vocal hook. But the remainder of Pratt’s vocals, especially in whispery lines that trail off into space, blur that time-stamp: suddenly we’re miles from civilization in the melancholy mists, and it’s not entirely clear how we got there. On Your Own Love Again is full of these swerves. Pratt writes in short, windswept episodes — hook after hook, Taylor Swift-style, except they seem to refract common pop devices and send them into weird, otherworldly places. Just when there’s a solid declaration to grab onto — like the line in “Game” that observes how “people’s faces blend together like a watercolor you can’t remember” — it’s followed by something fleeting and indistinct, a shadowy hum or an unexpectedly ingratiating wisp of nearly inaudible private melody. These little asides are vital to Pratt’s understated, often cryptic songs, which glance at the conflicted emotions of Sandy Denny’s solo work as well as the stark, lingering introspection of Nick Drake. With Pratt, you pay attention to just the words, and then the breaths that follow, the echoes, the wistful vapor trails receding into the distance. There are epic stories swirling around inside of that stuff, and they might not necessarily be the same stories she’s telling in words.”
On Your Own Love Again is out now on Drag City; listen to “Back, Baby” below.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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