Over two years in the making, the American singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt returns with her second album, On Your Own Love, to provide an assured and accomplished follow-up to 2012’s self-titled debut. Her unique voice and fingerstyle guitar are subtly augmented by a variety of other instruments without losing the folky 1960s Laurel Canyon vibe that epitomised her first album.
Opener ‘Wrong Hand’ sets the scene for the album: Jessica’s almost murmured vocals and quiet acoustic guitar float through a defiantly lo-fi sound as Will Canzoneri’s keyboards pick out the song structure. ‘Game That I Play’ has a slow motion bossanova feel which is abruptly ended as a booming bass and slide guitar step forward for its dropped-in coda. The darker feel of ‘Strange Melody’ with its rhythmic guitar arpeggios and well-placed vocal overdubs mark it out as one of the album’s highlights, despite the amount of tape hiss.
With a nod towards flamenco guitars, ‘Greycedes’ continues the summery yet introspective feel and offers Jessica the chance to display her impressive vocal range. Some extreme panning of the guitar tracks in ‘Moon Dude’ offset its gently bouncy rhythm but entirely befit its wide-eyed loved-up vibe, while ‘Jacquelyn In The Background’ features some snappy chord and tempo changes on the guitar parts.
The nervy, off-kilter guitar of ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ is offset by lush, layered multitracked harmonies and some judiciously placed electric piano. The strummed rhythm of ‘Back, Baby’ provides a solid backdrop for Jessica’s ethereal vocals and, perhaps surprisingly, given its lyrical tale of heartbreak, is the most overtly commercial-sounding track on the album. The bittersweet ‘On Your Own Love Again’ closes out the record as it began, with Jessica’s soft vocal musing over quietly insistent acoustic guitars.
On Your Own Love Again is a fitting follow-up to Jessica’s first album, full of likeable idiosyncracies and confidently self-contained, it will undoubtedly consolidate her existing fan base while offering new followers a chance to hear for themselves why there’s such a media buzz about her.
Review by: Helen Gregory
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Out Now via Drag City
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