Jessica Pratt is not a loud performer. She does not have to be. In a club of a few hundred, even the bar staff are known to go quiet while she’s on stage. Her third, forthcoming album, “Quiet Signs”, feels like a distillation of this power. The album leads off with “Opening Night,” a nod to Gena Rowlands’ harrowing, brilliant performance in the John Cassavetes film of the same name. It’s also an emblem of where this spare, mysterious collection of songs falls in the course of Pratt’s career.
“On some level I considered an audience while making the last record (2015’s On Your Own Love Again),” she writes, “But my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind.”
Her first album fully recorded in a professional studio setting, Pratt’s songwriting and accompanying guitar work are refined on “Quiet Signs”, more distinct and direct. Songs retain glimmers of OYOLA’s hazy day afternoon spells, yet delicate flute, strings sustained by organ arrangements and rehearsal room piano now gesture towards the lush chamber pop and longing of The Left Banke.
The album’s first single, “This Time Around,” shared alongside its video by Laura-Lynn Petrick, finds Pratt hitting on a profound, late-night clarity over just a couple of deep chords, evoking Caetano Veloso’s casual seaside brilliance.