by Chris Hess
Review of Dylan Pratt's Beg For Fire (2013)
That call always comes at the tipping point in the evening. They’ve left each other. You’ll be right over. Walking in...the whiskey’s already poured, the workboots are untied and still on his feet, and the cigarette smoke smells alright.
We step into rooms with each other. Sometimes for each other. Conversations are listening sessions. Beg For Fire
— the second full length release from alt-folk songwriter Dylan Pratt — carries the weight of a long night in the company of heartbreak.
Pulling this way and that with swaying emotions and muddled exchanges that carry threads into moments of stark clarity, it’s familiar territory for most souls. Perhaps that’s what makes it such a fine listen.
Most songs on the album showcase Pratt’s steady voice and wise guitarwork (read: he knows how to play better than most and when not to overdo it). His songwriting is at one moment beyond his twenty some-odd years, and at another you're across the table from a homesick young man in need of company while he's on the emotional mend. Fire
starts out pointedly with the title track and the hauntingly charming "Above As Below." From there, the album turns in circles a bit. And this happens in the thick of muddied logic. Echoing, discontent piano parts and thoughtfully bare drums come alongside Pratt's voice and guitar in a section of the effort that can be taxing to listen through. Not because it's poorly crafted, but because it rings true
, most notably on the intensely personal "Poisoined Fruit."
The instrumental "Golden Garden" is a hinge to the album, a corner turned in the wee hours of the morning. Showcasing Pratt's ability to communicate without words, it gives way to songs of fortitude and resignation to what's past is past.
"There's too many things you wish you could change. Made up plans and faulty escapes. You're too far in your own head," Pratt sings on "Somewhere To Run," just before the sun starts to come up on the close of Beg For Fire
. The sound of a full band unfolds on an otherwise sparse album, resolute in moving on down the road. The air outside the room is brash and fresh with the early morning chill. The conversation is over, though points replay over and over in your head. And while it's not your burden, you help carry others through it. It's what we're reminded to do.
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Also in The Waking
Where I am living now, the seasons have no pivot... Springs are mercurial, senselessly violent in their cold and snow. I experience winter here like a death, wait endlessly for a green that will outgrow my grief.
To end, I will not offer any more of my own words on this transition—the small one (me leaving Ruminate) or the big one (the pandemic). Instead, I turn to the words of the regular contributors of The Waking. Collectively, their voices tell a story—one of grief, hope, and resurrection.
Don't dwell on if the notes you sang were fine-tuned or not, as you can't take the notes back. A lot of plans in life fall flat, but the best that one can do is learn from it and aim to do better the next time.