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CD Review: Andy Pratt - Horizon Disrupted

Andy Pratt- Vocals & guitars Joe Policastro - Bass & vocals Mikel Patrick Avery - Drums & percussion Quartet Parapluie Rebekah Cope - Violin Inger Petersen Carle - Violin Andra Kulans - Viola & violin Melissa Bach- Cello Kelly Bayer Langenberg - French Horn (track 8 only)

Chicago guitarist and vocalist Andy Pratt explores songwriting on his intimate and genre-bending debut Horizon Disrupted. Joining him are long time collaborators bassist Joe Policastro and drummer Mikel Patrick Avery who keep the effervescent beat going on these eight original tunes. Pratt also utilizes a string quartet and, on one track, French horn to sweeten and give depth to the backdrop to his conversational and unassuming vocals.

The mood overall is very nocturnesque with Avery’s soft thrums, Policastro’s sparse and eloquent reverberations and Pratt’s resonant strums framing the emotive singing. The lush harmonies of Quartet Parapluie add another element of romanticism to the album.

Pratt, himself, peppers each song with a singular flavor. For instance, Latin hints abound on the infectious opener “Will You Be the One Tonight?” while the barroom ballad “She’s Gotten Into My Dreams”, that Avery’s pulsatile kit propels, has delightfully subtle wit.

Elsewhere Pratt’s somewhat gravelly voice brings a retro sound to such yearning and melancholic tracks as “When Did the Summer End?” and “I Saw You That Evening”. Violinists Rebekah Cope, Inger Petersen Carle, Andra Kulans and cellist Melissa Bach add a rich, silky texture to the music without making it saccharine. Horn player Kelly Bayer Langenberg brings a touch of mystery to the impressionistic closer “Through the Rain”.

The uniqueness of this album is the way Pratt blends various styles together seamlessly and elegantly. There are hints of folk in the simplicity of the lyrics, the rhythm duo brings in a jazz sense and the vibrant Quartet a classical feel. This delightful release is neither a ground breaker nor meant for purists. It is, however, enjoyable and engaging and creates a lovely escapist ambience.

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