Search The Line of Best Fit
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Here In The Pitch sublimely elevates Jessica Pratt's songcraft

"Here In The Pitch"

Release date: 03 May 2024
Jessica Pratt Here Is The Pitch cover
02 May 2024, 09:00 Written by John Amen

Jessica Pratt’s earlier albums, particularly 2019’s Quiet Signs, spotlighted the singer-songwriter’s pensive vocals and affinity for hazy atmospheres.

Pratt’s melodies, however, occasionally meandered, lacking cogency. With her new album, that issue has been resolved: Pratt builds on the dreamy spaciousness of previous sets while offering one lush hook after another. Here in the Pitch is her most fully realized and consistently evocative set.

“Life Is” employs a lurching beat that contrasts effectively with Pratt’s reverb-dashed vocal. Pratt stokes melodic tensions, offering smile-worthy catharses. She still broadcasts from a dusky bardo somewhere on the AM dial; and yet, the song brims with presence and enticing details, including off-kilter supporting vocals and a ghostly mellotron shimmering in the background.

With “Better Hate”, Pratt’s buoyant melody is informed by The Ronettes and The Supremes as much as Camera Obscura or “Archie, Marry Me”-era Alvvays. The tune shows Pratt moving in more complex emotional directions, alternately matter-of-fact and melancholy, quaint and mystical, as she crosses a bubblegum vibe with her own brand of celestial pop.

“Get Your Head Out” shows Pratt updating Julee Cruise a la Twin Peaks for a post-Covid, post-Twitter generation. Her vocal is at once cerebral and sultry; she makes engaging melodic pivots, anchored by a bouncy guitar. “By Hook or Crook” merges a sense of burden with a blissful lightness, Pratt’s ability to work with paradoxes on full display.

Meanwhile, the exquisite “Empires Never Know” launches with an out-of-tune piano part, invoking a surreal context. “Get yourself on to God my love / or to whom you may claim”, Pratt advises. Her slightly tortured delivery recalls Nicole Dollanganger; while Dollanganger, however, presents reality as ineluctably purgatorial, even hellish, Pratt flirts with the idea of redemption, portraying trauma as a possible gateway to wisdom.

The album concludes with the unshakeable “The Last Year”. “I think we’re going to be together / and the storyline goes forever”, Pratt proclaims, her voice crystalline, her melody riveting. Subtle sonic shifts, such as a drum part that comes and goes like an important afterthought, are understatedly alluring.

The 9-track, 27-minute Here in the Pitch passes quickly, though Pratt covers significant ground. Her gift for invoking and sustaining a beguiling mood remains centerstage; that gift, however, is complemented by an elevated songcraft. Pratt has long been a consummate texturalist; mining the pop playbook in resourceful ways, she’s now an exemplary tunesmith as well – the result is sublime.

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