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Dick Prall - Weightless
Review by Andy ArgyrakisHailing from Chicago by way of a small town city in Iowa, Dick Prall may be best known in Midwestern America, though the singer/songwriter's reach continues to grow with this fourth studio release. Thus far the tunesmith's touring resume includes iconic indie rocker/producer Jon Brion, Soul Coughing's Mike Doughty, hit makers The Verve Pipe and alternative country slinger Bobby Bare Jr. (to name a few), along with club headlining slots. Now signed with his home state's Authentic Records, Prall hit the studio with producer Joshua Shapera (Veruca Salt, Verbow) to turn in a comforting acoustic record influenced by The Beatles' latter era and modern day Ryan Adams.
Add in a few flourishes of Wilco, touches of his previous concert partners, plus Prall's own delightfully gruff vocals, and Weightless winds up floating on an inviting bed of organic invention. "Halfway to Hollywood" is a chunky, piano-tipped tune with soulful croons and a hooky chorus, which serves as a solid bookend to the sparse strums and soft spoken percussion of "The Cornflakes Song." Anyone who listens closely to that tune and the shimmering glow of "If It Bends" might also notice the familiar harmonies of longtime collaborator Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket fame), which fit hand in glove with Prall's leads.
"B&W" is amongst the disc most somber selections, resonating with sublime beauty and gracefulness courtesy of calming violin accompaniments. That chilled out mood also accompanies the haunting "I Took a Life" and the distorted vocal lined "Devils," though there are still plenty of other upbeat moments. One of the brisker standouts is "Side By Side," known for its galloping guitars, clap worthy shuffle and continuation of Prall's consistently introspective songwriting. When combined, all the elements are enough to make this troubadour's latest offering stand out amongst an already rich catalogue and make his independent stock continue to rise with regularity.
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