Jessica Pratt: Quiet Signs (Mexican Summer) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Jessica Pratt

Quiet Signs

Mexican Summer

Feb 05, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Freak folk songstress Jessica Pratt leans in on Tropicalia; the '60s hybrid of Brazilian and African rhythms fused with pop. Hallmarks of odd time signatures and unconventional song structures are already idiosyncratic to Pratt's songwriting. "This Time Around" is darker in tone and more introspective. Yet, it shines with a sonic luminosity thanks to pacing and her ability to enunciate and squash vowels with beguiling results. 

"Here My Love" with its lapping keys is buoyed by a light bossa nova sway. "Poly Blue," the brightest track sonically, highlights Pratt's delicate and accomplished fretwork-aided by Al Carlson's barely-there piano and flute. But it reads like a minor tragedy, a cautionary tale of young women falling for a puerile boy, "hapless in his touch."

Previously known for homespun records, Quiet Signs is Pratt's first recorded in a professional studio. Since decamping to Los Angeles, her sound has gained a wide-scope cinematic feel without losing any of its raw intimacy. The big room echo of "Here My Love" evokes late-night hotel bars, empty banquettes, and liquor served in Bohemian crystal.

Making quiet songs in a town known for its brasher pursuits cuts Pratt as a solitary figure. Hardly languishing, she mines its nobler roots, aligning herself with the independent cinema tradition via John Cassavetes; album intro "Opening Night" references Cassavetes muse and wife, Gena Rowlands' performance in that movie. Pratt's tales of survival in "a world burning on the wild words" are sometimes elliptical but succeed in a cohesive telling from start to gauzy closer "Aeroplane." (www.facebook.com/jessicalynnpratt/)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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