‘Side By Side’ by Natalie Prass (EP)
The Cleveland-born singer-songwriter returns to Spacebomb Studios to rework two songs from her debut album, along with three cover versions
Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut record is one of 2015’s strongest records. Almost a year after its release, it’s still on heavy rotation at Songwriting HQ, so the prospect of new material has been met with great excitement, and although this EP contains reworkings of two songs from the album and a trio of covers, it still works wonders.
Each track was recorded live at Prass’ favourite Spacebomb Studios. The originals, My Baby Don’t Understand Me and Christy, have been pared-back. Stripped of their luscious brass and string orchestration, they reveal their inner soul (in both senses of the word).
Of the covers, Anita Baker’s Caught Up In The Rapture comes with added Motown. A funky organ and staccato vocal, up the tempo on her version of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound Of Silence, much more in keeping with Carmen McRae’s version than the original. Lastly is a jazz-infused reworking of Grimes’ REALiTi in which the spirit of studio experimentation shines through.
As ever what really stands out is Prass’ distinctive voice, somehow managing to sound both fleeting and controlled at the same time it is a beautiful instrument in its own right. Side By Side is another great success in a year that has announced Natalie Prass as a supremely gifted and original talent. Long may it continue?
Verdict: A sumptuous stopgap