Published Feb 05, 2019As a musician, Jessica Pratt is an enigma. She's a thirtysomething, slight folk singer who grew up on '80s cowpunk like X and the Gun Club. She's a wistful lyricist who blends her syllables together in a way that would make Kurt Cobain scratch his head. And on her third album, she's created her most musically ambitious piece of work and it also happens to be her most simple.
Beginning with a pair of brief piano tunes, the instrumental "Opening Night" and its vocal-tinged companion "As the World Turns," Pratt subsequently slides into an additional seven tracks that find the L.A. musician stretching her fizzy vocals underneath a tapestry of tasteful woodwinds, organ and of course, Pratt's full-bodied folk picking and strumming.
While Pratt's first two albums were recorded in her home, Quiet Signs was finished in a studio with help from Oneohtrix Point Never and Autre ne Veut producer Al Carlson. But each track still contains an air of tape hiss and a four-track feel to it, only strengthening to Pratt's haunted delivery.
Across 29 minutes, Pratt delivers a compact and succinct album solely focused on her vocals and a newfound knack for hook-writing, as verified on tracks like "Fare Thee Well" and "This Time Around." But these soaring melodies are buried under layers of instrumentation and it somehow works like a charm. Quiet Signs is a breeze of an album that somehow hits you like a ton of bricks. Just another enigmatic turn for Jessica Pratt. (Mexican Summer)