Jessica Pratt: “Life Is”

Across three albums, Jessica Pratt’s music has expressed better than any other artist what it’s like to feel time. It’s a sensation so acute and so indescribable that it could be her life’s work to get to the bottom of it. “Time was longer when we were in that other place,” she sang 12 years ago. “Girl, I know I’m losing time without you,” she sang nine years ago. “And it’s come today, but tomorrow may turn me out,” she sang on the closing song from her previous album, 2019’s breakthrough Quiet Signs. This unreal pace of life in her words matches the sound of her music, which is—spiritually, if not literally—bending precariously around two wobbly tape reels in a small room.

We’re back on Pratt’s watch with “Life Is,” the lead single from her fourth album, titled Here in the Pitch. Upon pressing play, longtime listeners might lose their goddamn minds at the sound of drum kit, which appears as if sent through a portal from inside Brian Wilson’s home studio. Before today, Pratt’s records barely featured anything more than her nylon-string guitar and her idiosyncratic, kind of mid-Atlantic mezzo croon. But we are in a new era, inside a thick late-’60s California pop-group haze with Mauro Refosco on percussion and Spencer Zahn on bass, less ghostly and more grounded than ever before. And yet, some things never change: “Time is time and time and time again,” Pratt sings idly, over and over, as if wrapping the concept perfectly around her finger.