Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Album Review: Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass’s self-titled debut on Richmond, Virginia’s Spacebomb Records feels fantastic and very grounded all at once.

Vibrant orchestra arrangements greet the listener with lush strings and sparkling winds. It’s colorful and harkens back to a grander style of pop. Prass’s friend and Spacebomb owner Matthew E. White’s style is evident here.

Natalie Prass runs the gamut of 70s AM radio throwback sounds. “Bird of Prey” fizzes with a tense jazz led by trumpets and flutes. “Why Don’t You Believe in Me” draws from soul and funk and mixes it with the blues.

These arrangements make Prass’s debut worthy of note, but it’s Prass herself that makes the album extraordinary.

Prass’s lyrics detail relationships gone wrong in stark detail. On “Christy” she tears into the woman that came after her. “Violently” describes an attraction that is primal and aggressive, not some silly, sweet courtship in typical love song fashion.

The contrast between the lyrics and the supporting music makes it sound like Prass is seething behind a smile. She won’t let others have the satisfaction of seeing her hurting.

Prass’s voice is as versatile and nuanced as the music and lyrics. She wafts weightless on top of the orchestra as easily as she dips dramatically into the lower register. She’s polished and there’s a touch of Broadway throughout, but it never strips away her authenticity.

Altogether, Natalie Prass is a can’t-miss record and the crown jewel of the Spacebomb catalog.

Natalie Prass is available today via Spacebomb Records. She will open for Hiss Golden Messenger at Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw on Friday, April 17. Tickets are on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 30, via Ticketfly for $15.

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