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Jessica Pratt Quiet Signs City Slang

Jessica Pratt’s sound recalls another era, evoking the New York coffee shops inhabited by Joan Baez in the 60s, or the hazy, free-loving folk festivals of the 70s. Yet her relevance still feels timely, her expansive thoughts resonating loudly with a generation struggling to find meaning amidst the relentless racket of modern life.

Quiet Signs, Pratt’s third solo album, feels like an antidote to such never-ending noise. Her sparse instrumentation and delicate melodies demand calm attentiveness; few artists can silence a room as intently as Pratt does. Part escapism, part serious comment, Pratt’s delivery forces a dramatic change of pace. Listeners are encouraged to absorb the lingering echoes of solitary instruments such as on dreamy opener Opening Night, where single piano keys echo.

Entirely produced in a professional studio for the first time, snatches of greater musical complexity exist on the soaring Aeroplane and Fare Thee Well. Yet on Quiet Signs, the most intense moments are often where the sound is most fragile, when Pratt encourages us to find more tangible meanings in the quieter moments around us.