Lauren Pritchard - Wasted in Jackson
Mature and tasteful but, it has to be said, disappointingly so. Tennessee’s Lauren Pritchard comes touted as a soulful young songstress with attitude but her debut album lacks fire and youthful spark. Clearly an old head on young shoulders, her very measured approach stultifies the material; or maybe the material itself – laid back balladry with hints of jazz and blues – can’t support loftier ambitions. All too often the songs themselves leave you hungry for more. There’s no blood pumping here; Wasted in Jackson is a notably vegan endeavour. On the likes of ‘No Way’ it nearly comes alive but the overall soundscape is muted. This record needs a clutch of songs that live up to the promise of its down-home title, a false indicator of off-the-rails storytelling that would fit in with the current vogue for dusty Americana. The soulful intent and tasteful backing lacks groove and identity but nothing startles, nothing pulls it into the foreground. A couple of years back, Beth Rowley showed that you could take such components and weld youthful sass onto elements borne from tradition; a few ideas do wonders for the Big Voice. Wasted in Jackson fails to land the big punches. It’s too smooth by far and maybe Pritchard’s avowed love for Billy Joel and her recent support slot with James Morrison tell you all you really need to know.