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Jessica Pratt Dreams Big on Here in the Pitch

The L.A. singer-songwriter further expands her sound on fourth album
Jessica Pratt (Photo credit: Samuel Hess)

Jessica Pratt – Here in the Pitch
Mexican Summer

Jessica Pratt‘s albums are like recurring dreams—hypnagogic visitors that come bearing uncertainty, comfort, and wonder, though maybe not as often as you’d like. On Here in the Pitch, her fourth LP over 12 years (and first in five), the L.A. singer-songwriter expands her sound ever so slightly—moving a bit further away from the sparsely arranged guitar-and-voice folk songs of her earliest work.

Pratt’s music remains gentle and beguiling, carefully crafted with graceful melodies, gauzy vibes, unshakeable patience, and the kind of intimate room-sound that makes you feel like the voice is coming from inside your head. “When you’ve fallen out, get both feet on the ground,” she sings in album opener “Life Is,” a lovely take on laid-back, ‘60s-style Wall of Sound pop. “The curses you keep won’t follow you now.”

Elsewhere, she incorporates new sonic elements without straying too far from her proven formula: A low baritone sax line colors the otherwise light and airy “Better Hate”; “By Hook or By Crook” runs on a drowsy bossa nova beat; “Empires Never Know” is a beautiful ballad built around a piano that sounds like it was recorded underwater; and “Nowhere It Was” makes a lot out of a little, as Pratt sings about mistrust and moving on against slowly pulsing organ tones and a faint raindrop of rhythm.

At the center of these little experiments, of course, is Pratt’s sublime singing voice, wielded like a Swiss Army Knife—sometimes sturdy, sometimes trembling, sometimes adrift, depending on the need. She’s never loud, but then again, the quiet ones often have the most interesting things to say. – GRADE: B+

You can check out Here in the Pitch on Bandcamp and elsewhere.

Mexican Summer