I've been following Bill Pritchard for decades and I can honestly say that his newest album may very well be his best yet. Midland Lullabies, out tomorrow on Tapete, sees the British singer-songwriter offer up material that compares favorably to that of The Divine Comedy and Nilsson. Put in simpler, more direct terms: this is a great chamber pop record, folks.
Opener "Iolanda" sounds a bit like Rufus Wainwright, even as Pritchard shares a vocal performance that recalls the sort of thing Ray Davies cranked out in the Seventies. Elsewhere, "Lullaby" rides in on a glorious hook, all string-swells and gently rolling melodic magic, while the elegiac "Thanks" is superb. Fans of Lennon's best solo ballads -- think "Out Of The Blue", among others -- should take this one to heart just like I did, even as "Grow" adds a faint hint of British music hall to things. This is elegant music, and Midland Lullabies is the sort of release that is going to bring Bill Prtichard's talents to even larger audiences, especially with catchy numbers here, like "Tuesday Morning", being impossible to dislodge from the brain once heard.
What we've got here on Midland Lullabies is the sound of an artist evolving, with Bill Pritchard looking to past pioneers for inspiration, even as he incorporates those bits of inspiration effortlessly into his own uniquely tuneful brand of indie-pop. New fans should find it easy to embrace this record, while long-time fans of Pritchard's skills should see this record as his masterpiece.
Midland Lullabies is out tomorrow on Tapete.
More details on Bill Pritchard via his official website.
[Photo: Nicholas Despis]