Buffalo Bar, Cardiff
Wed 31 Mar
With debut EP The Jackson Sessions produced by Marcus Mumford, eponymous frontman of rising new-folk troupe Mumford & Sons, you could be forgiven for thinking that you can predict in advance what Lauren Pritchard sounds like. Folksy, low-key, earnest-yet-charming, right? Wrong.
Playing in Cardiff tonight with Pete Lawrie and Erik Hassle, this Tennessee-born, London-based young singer is all about the big-voiced blues. And it is a big voice, make no mistake – if anything, it’s a little too big for the venue, swelling to almost uncomfortable volumes in the small room. It proves somewhat grating, too, at times, when she veers a little too close to Leona Lewis-esque vocal histrionics.
It’s interesting, though, how much more appealing her sound is when she reins it in a bit. Future album track ‘Wasted in Jackson’ showcases a yearning to break out from a claustrophobic hometown which is touching in a way which you can see her aiming for, yet falling short of, on other tracks.
It may be odd to say so of a such a low-key set, but it all just sounds a little too much like it’s desperate to be polished to a glossy commercial sheen and picked up by the Radio 2 playlist. It’s generic music of a type which could easily be filed between Norah Jones and Adele – inoffensive, bland and laced with worn-out sentiment.