Natalie Prass: Natalie Prass review – spellbinding country-soul

Matthew E White’s album Big Inner may have been a critical smash in 2013, but its success looked like it might come at a cost for Natalie Prass. This self-titled debut was recorded in 2012 yet remained on the back burner while White’s Spacebomb label was forced to focus on promoting his own record. With the Virginia label – which also operates as a studio with house band – now giving Prass their full backing, however, she may concede that it was worth waiting: the 28-year-old’s country-soul songs are frequently spellbinding, but each one is given a further lift by the Spacebomb team’s arrangements. Your Fool is propelled by bursts of Muscle Shoals brass, whereas the harps on infidelity tale Christy give it a grandeur worthy of Scott Walker. So sweet are the strings on the standout Violently that it takes time to notice that Prass’s pure soul voice is singing about heartache in brutal terms: “Break my arms, ’cos they want to hold you.” The touchstones here, such as Dusty in Memphis, are all records that revel in a particular kind of musicality, yet this is a record that never feels retro, just timeless.

The playlist: Americana – a tour of Texas

Contributor

Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

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