Before this, the last the world heard from international cult songwriter Bill Pritchard was his unexpectedly electronic-heavy 2005 album, By Paris by Taxi by Accident. That album came after a long disappearance from public performance that followed several spirited albums of introspective college rock-era alternative pop crafted by Pritchard either alone or with his band Beatitude. Early in the 2010s, Pritchard was drawn out of another long disappearance when his Beatitude collaborator Tim Bradshaw happened to move within miles of his house, and the two began working at their own pace on what became the springy tunes that make up A Trip to the Coast. The album is full of straightforward and jangly guitar pop, full of hooks and production turns that would feel at home on mixtapes of early-'90s underground alternative acts, the likes of which Pritchard himself belonged to and came up with. Early in his career, Pritchard's lilting voice and storytelling lyrics garnered comparisons to crooners like Lloyd Cole and Morrissey, but on A Trip to the Coast he bears more in common with Robyn Hitchcock's voice at its most lighthearted. For the most part the songs are catchy and midtempoed, ranging from reflections on decades of a life in music like "In June" to the French-sung "Tout Seul." The reflections reach their peak on standout track "Yeah Yeah Girl," with the lingering pre-chorus lyric "But I sometimes wonder how it could be if I'd been more commercial and you less twee." Rich with both openhearted optimism and a soft, ambient melancholia, A Trip to the Coast has an easygoing excellence to it, harking back to the unknown greats of late-'80s and early-'90s alt-rock, but coming from a place concordant with the long, strange journey Pritchard's music has taken him on up until now.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas