Though you might remember Lauren Pritchard as Ilse, a 15-year-old runaway in Broadway’s Spring Awakening, don’t expect any jazz-handed musical theater on her debut album. Drawing from her upbringing in Tennessee, Wasted in Jackson hints at the singer/songwriter’s early blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll influences like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, while still establishing Pritchard’s own unique sound.
From tracks framing leftover teenage angst (“Hanging Up”) to urging aid for the less fortunate (“Try a Little Harder”), she delivers a smooth and rich performance befitting someone far beyond her 22 years. “Not the Drinking,” the album’s first single, is bouncy and bluesy with a catchy chorus, while another standout, “Painkillers,” contains a cameo from the Roots’ drummer ?uestlove. Folk darlings Mumford & Sons guest on the album’s strong finisher, “When the Night Kills the Day,” a haunting, dissonant groove that showcases Pritchard’s prowess as a vocalist.
Producer Eg White, an Ivor Novello-winning songwriter in his own right, has credits on tracks by other soulful sirens like Pink and Adele. And indeed, Pritchard is in good company with those talented ladies.
—Allison Johnelle Boron