Jessica Pratt ’s Sophomore Album Is A Retro-Tinged Triumph

Jessica Pratt

New York – Jessica Pratt is an acoustic folk singer-songwriter out of Los Angeles whose spellbinding work seemingly resonates from a distant decade. Her most recent achievement is On Your Own Love Again, out this week via Drag City, and the record is a meditative masterpiece and a dream catcher of a compilation.

Listening to the album feels like dusting off a record from the 60s, if that record could roll together the sonic experimentalism that has infiltrated the industry since that time. Remarkably, Pratt’s work recalls the best of that era without emulating it entirely. Instead, her songs are distinctive and fresh, and a singular take on the soundscapes of yesteryear. From start to finish, On You Own Love Again proves to be the perfect conduit for nostalgic reconnaissance, and offers an ideal compilation to soundtrack the week’s slower hours.

Pratt’s work has drawn comparisons to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, though she’s been quick to shut down those associations for fear of being put in an unmovable folk box. “This straightforward, traditional folk shit can be beautiful in and of itself, but I was just a little embittered and chagrined,” Pratt said in a recent interview, in reference to the media’s categorization of her work. “I didn’t want people to think I was just a basic bitch, you know?”

In other interviews, Jessica Pratt has spoken of a deep-seeded desire to retreat to the woods to focus entirely on her work.  These Thoreauvian tendencies are both admirable and telling. It’s with reverence that Pratt curates her delivery, and the product is nothing short of divine. For Pratt, it’s not quantity but quality that counts. Truly self-aware, this is a musician that knows her process and one that’s blessed with the boundless drive to hone her craft and generate a product that’s intricate as the day is long.

On Your Own Love Again opens on “Wrong Hand,” a psychedelic-steeped cut that’s hazy and minimalist. For the majority of the record, the tracks are carried to fruition by Pratt’s intoxicating vocalizing, acoustic guitar wanderings and subtle percussion, though Will Canzoneri joins her at times on organ and Clavinet. The album’s single, “Back, Baby,” is another calmly ebbing ballad that sees Pratt play with layers of harmonizing and the most delicate of cascading melodizing.

The album’s closer, and title track, is an ethereal cut that hints at romance without leaning too heavily on sentimentality. In but a minute and a half, Pratt successfully sedates her audience with an authentic and straight-shooting lullaby of a ballad, and takes her exit in a blaze of tender serenading.

Pratt is scheduled to embark on a West Coast tour beginning late February. Though U.S. tour dates are sparse for now, she’ll be circulating stages throughout Europe and the U.K. excessively into April. In lieu of a wider-flung tour agenda, dive into Pratt’s album, and reserve space in your Zen playlists for more than a handful of her calming cuts. The reflection they afford is an inarguable value-add to the ageless soul.

Go HERE for more on Jessica Pratt.

Liz Rowley

Liz Rowley

Born in Mexico and raised in Toronto, Jerusalem and Chicago by a pair of journalists, Liz comes to with an inherited love of writing. After discovering a niche for herself in music journalism and radio while at Bates College in Maine, she always keeps a running playlist of new music to soundtrack her place in the world. Liz is passionate about helping dedicated, talented musicians gain the exposure they deserve. A recent transplant to Brooklyn from Hawaii, she is plagued by an incurable case of wanderlust and cursed with an affinity for old maps and old things like typewriters and vintage books. She adores photography and running and is very good with plants. Having come of age in Chicago, Wilco speaks to her soul. If she could be anything, she would be a cat in a Murakami novel.
Liz Rowley