LAUREN PRITCHARD; Wasted In Jackson (Island)

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Born in Jackson, Tennessee, but based in London, Lauren Pritchard has already made a big impression via a series of single and EP releases that heralded this beautifully balanced album that will appeal to those who liked Norah Jones and are loving Rumer. Young Lauren, you see, has that difficult-to-achieve singer/songwriter knack of crafting hook-laden songs that are perfect for her wistful, melancholic voice and producer Eg White (who worked on Adele’s ‘Chasing Pavements’ and Duffy’s ‘Warwick Avenue’) knows how to present them in a way that’s suited perfectly to the contemporary mood.

Of the songs that we’re already familiar with ‘Not The Drinking’ still has considerable appeal. The tune is a plaintive builder that ticks all the right boxes in the aforementioned contemporary pop/soul format. What really makes it work, however, is the conviction in Lauren’s voice and the album’s title cut is constructed in the same way… both are delightful. ‘No Way’ and ‘Try A Little Harder’ are much more folksy and intimate, while, for contrast ‘I Hope It’s You’ and ‘Hanging Up’ are much more upbeat. Indeed on that last one, the beats (especially on the intro passage) are almost Northern. ‘Painkillers’ |(another track that’s already enjoyed some exposure) is built on strong soul beats – hardly surprising given that the guest drummer on the cut is Roots’ man ?uestlove.

Pushed to select a song that sums sup the essence of Ms. Pritchard, I’d suggest ‘Going Home’. It’s a wistful, introspective ballad that Dusty Springfield would have been proud of. It’s dramatic and serious but meaningfully so – not overblown like so many of these things can be. And maybe that’s the secret of the album’s appeal. The mood of each track is just right and where lots of singer/songwriter albums can be gloomy and deeply introspective, Pritchard and White ensure that we can all indentify with the sentiments by creating a real accessibility.

(BB) 4/5