Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs

by Bill Golembeski Rating:8 Release Date:2019-02-08
Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs
Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs

Jessica Pratt’s music is the stuff, to quote Carl Sagan, that “tallies the fall of every sparrow.”

And that’s not a criticism: This is a sensitive and mysterious singer-songwriter record that is a gentle combustion of picked guitar, plaintive piano, and a distant and dancing flute. Jessica has the voice of innocence that has been aged in one of those bourbon barrels that makes my Scottish ale taste so good.

This album sips time, and it echoes the sublime music of Vashti Bunyan, Bridget St. John, Sibylle Baier, Meg Baird, and the ephemeral mysticism of David Crosby’s “Guinevere.”

You know, there’s a Seinfeld episode in which Kramer dates a low talker who created the puffy shirt. Of course, all within earshot must bend forward to earnestly attempt to hear the woman’s words. This album is a bit like that.

And, once again, that’s not a criticism: This is coffee house folk music that compels the late-night caffeine consumer to lean forward in silent respect for very quiet and very beautiful sounds that fall into the late evening hours.

This music demands, in its own quiet way, patient attention.

The album is one of simple beauty. “Opening Night” is a piano instrumental overture with wordless vocals. It’s deep, with a lot of space between the notes. But “As the World Turns” begins with a strummed guitar and the innocent-aged bourbon barrel voice. The melody is worth a thousand pictures and flickers like that old zoopraxiscope Eadweard Muybridge very first film of Occident, the cinematic hero and forever running horse.

Odd: this music is very sepia old and new at the same time.

Odd (again): my friend, Kilda Defnut, says the same thing about the universe.

And records spin forever, just like a horse captured on film will always run in a Grecian Urn sort of way.

“Fare Thee Well” continues in the strummed melodic beauty. A flute flirts as Jessica’s voice plays with time. This is approaching Nick Drake territory.

The simple beauty continues. “Here My Love” sings the melody of silence. And “Poly Blue,” again, is folk purity that (almost) hints at some melody of a great Petula Clark hit song from the Sixties swinging London. “This Time Around” is spooky and pretty as its melody pleads its patient pace.

And the silent beauty continues to continue. “Crossing” haunts its own vinyl grooves. “Silent” almost sings for itself. This is a late-night introspective tune that quietly burns like a candle.

The final song, “Aeroplane,” extends the mystery. It bops (in a folky way) and loves the spectral world. It hovers in the coffee house air of long ago that is, suddenly, the very here and the very now.

Low talking that cares about the tally of every fallen sparrow, matters, once again. Yeah, this album is too brief at twenty-seven minutes. But, yeah (again), that can be forgiven, because this record is the quiet glade of folk music coffee house beauty.   

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