On her self-titled album, San Francisco singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt evokes the timeless simplicity and organic tone of the best ‘70s folk music. Her greatest strength is a sweet, vibrating voice, wide range and pitch-perfect command of melody reminiscent of Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks, with a slight accent comparable to Kate Bush’s (curious for a U.S. native).
Like much classic folk music, Pratt’s songs are effortlessly plucked on acoustic guitar, with no accompaniment save for a few overdubbed harmonies in her own voice. A bit of fuzziness and occasional hissing on the tracts add to the album’s vintage feel, though it’s unclear whether this is intentional or the result of low-budget production values. The mellow tempo throughout makes for good thinking music.
Pratt’s vocal talents and guitar playing distract from the comparably tenuous lyrics. Though skillfully phrased, they lack depth, and I couldn’t detect a standout song or message anywhere on the album, just a vague sentimental mood. Still, Pratt’s natural artistry is apparent, and she shows potential for producing a classic with future efforts.