This Natalie Prass article was written by Sam Holmes, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Samantha Melrose.
Following on from her eponymous debut album, Natalie Prass’ second release of the year is a five track EP consisting of a mix of covers and new recordings of ‘My Baby Don’t Understand Me’ and ‘Christy’. Having already proven she is an enormous talent, this EP makes a point of showing she’s good fun too. The results are on the whole further proof of Prass‘ extraordinary ability; if not quite working 100% of the time.
The newly recorded versions of ‘My Baby Don’t Understand Me’ and ‘Christy’ provide solid evidence that Prass is not just a one trick pony. The cutesy string arrangements and acoustic guitar are swapped for some pretty riveting 70’s inspired electric guitar and keyboard. In doing so, the songs convey completely different emotions to their originals; generally providing far more up-beat listens. Prass has taken the songs, re-worked them, and managed to make them her own for a second time.
Equally as impressive is how she has achieved the same with the songs of Grimes, Simon & Garfunkel and Anita Baker; putting enough of a spin on them all to declare them her own. Covers can often see songs performed in a way that follows the formula of the original too closely, rendering them pretty pointless. This is a bullet Prass has well and truly dodged. The instrumentation on her cover of Grimes’ ‘Realiti’ in particular is perfectly suited, again evoking a very different reaction to the original. At this point it is worth highlighting that these covers show off just how good a voice Prass has. ‘Caught up in the Rapture’ has her follow a difficult act in Anita Baker but she seamlessly retains the soul of the song with some breathtaking vocals.
However, as aforementioned the songs don’t always work and in this case that comes in the form of ‘Sound of Silence’, the Simon & Garfunkel classic. To her credit, it certainly sounds nothing like the original; just not to the desired effect. The same guitar and keys that sound so good on the rest of the EP simply don’t work; being used in an often irritating alt-country sounding manner. The original’s profoundness found in both the lyrics and minimal instrumentation just isn’t suited.
Nonetheless, the EP should be seen as an exciting release for fans of Prass. She has demonstrated a different side of herself that not only works, but feels easy for her. Expect her next album to sound very different from the debut, but be just as good, or even better.
‘Side by Side’ is out now via Spacebomb Records.