Natalie Prass: The Future And The Past review – this funk soul sister is a smooth operator

Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 05:00


The Future And The Past

Natalie Prass


R&B / Soul

My favourite funk music will always be caked in dirt. Fervent vocals on grubby arrangements. But here comes Natalie Prass, whose second album The Future and the Past is full of tightly packed funk-pop songs and slickly produced R'n&B jams that run as clean as a vacuum chamber.

The Virginia singer-songwriter’s 2015 debut album harked back to the pretty melodies and brash brass of Philly soul and a string-led orchestral pop sound.

Here, things get more a lot more jiggy. Prass does her best Prince impression on opener Oh My, a snappy funk jam featuring a dominant bassline groove and guitar licks that snap ’n’ crackle.

Sisters, a swaggering ode to female unity, shows the star can do full-on chantable anthems, while the sweet piano chords, sumptuous strings and honeyed vocal delivery of the impressive Ship Go Down forms a ballad that’s smooth as satin before unexpectedly mutating into a interstellar wig-out.

Less impressive is Far From You, which leans towards musical theatre, while the sterility of Prass’s sound can still sometimes feel like a hindrance. Still, the lavish orchestration and strong songwriting unleashed on The Future and the Past highlight plenty of her undeniable strengths.