Her voice sounds as if it is travelling across a great distance to reach you. There is not only a sense of exaggerated physical space between Jessica Pratt’s voice and our ears, she also summons the feelings on her masterful new album, Quiet Signs, that her songs have travelled through the distance of many years.
At times Pratt sounds as if she sang a song while standing on the breezy parapet of a castle at sunrise during a cool medieval morning — she sang through a pleasant swirl of fog and wood smoke — and her song has been making its way gently toward you, finally having arrived through the mist of centuries.
At other times her quiet voice and her simply plucked guitar seem to be floating through the very dimly lit air of a low-ceilinged bar in California during the middle 1960s. There is Pratt standing with her guitar, singing from a corner stage — you can feel the nighttime outside, and along with the faint smell of beer, coffee, and cigarettes, the room is peppered with scents of patchouli, cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves.
Quiet Signs is Pratt’s third full-length release, and it is brief — just nine songs presented in less than half an hour. Pratt’s nimble voice and straightforward guitar are front-and-center, with subtle atmospherics perfectly provided by flute, piano, organ, and string synths. The record is a sprightly marvel.
How casually, almost effortlessly, Pratt delivers her pure, witchy magic. Here are two songs to check out by Los Angeles artist Jessica Pratt from Quiet Signs (out 8 Feb 2019 on Mexican Summer Records.)