She’s got the potential to become a big star.
Ian Wade 2010
While this is her debut album, 22-year-old Lauren Pritchard from Jackson (hence the title) Tennessee, is no stranger to showbiz. Since moving to LA at the age of 16, she spent two years in the cast of the musical Spring Awakening, tried to get her songwriting career off the ground as part of a duo, and had a spell fronting a reggae outfit. She’s even lodged with Lisa-Marie Presley. Crikey. Now, with the help of songwriter powerhouse Eg White (responsible for Will Young’s Leave Right Now, among many other big tunes), Ed Harcourt and Mumford & Sons, she’s finally on the precipice of something reasonably large.
Wasted in Jackson ticks lots of stylistic boxes, and while that shouldn’t usually cause problems, overall this is an album that doesn’t seem to entirely know what it wants to be. Pritchard has a tremendous voice, but some of the material – such as I Hope It’s You and Painkillers – comes direct from the overflowing female singer-songwriter skip of up-tempo empowerment pop, possibly en route towards soundtracking a significant dramatic plot development in medical drama in the near future.
Opener Stuck promises the delights of a possible Southern soul knees-up, pitching Pritchard as a less- irritating Joss Stone, but the momentum doesn’t travel much beyond there. But for all the slightly unmemorable tracks, there are gems such as the Carole King-like, Marcus Mumford-produced When the Night Kills the Day, which closes the album in a way you wish had been the norm throughout.
The technicalities of Lauren’s soul pipes and general feeling are in fine fettle and she clearly has a big future whatever road she wishes to wander down. She is a breath of fresh air and has the potential to become a big star – but a little bit more of the wasted, and less of the polished, would’ve made this album extremely good rather than just quite nice.