Secret Meeting score: 86
by Joseph Purcell
After losing her mother and a long-term partner during the record of 2015 album, On Your Own Love Again, Jessica Pratt took time away, moving down the Californian coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles – separating herself from the finality that pervaded through that album. Now she returns in 2019 a different artist.
The record’s piano based instrumental opener, Opening Night, is noirish and sets the scene for the eight hauntingly beautiful tracks that are to follow. An LP that sees Pratt’s aching voice backed sparsely by a finger picked guitar, with a smattering of light pianos, flutes and harps. But what the opener does not prepare you for the record’s mystique ridden poetic bursts.
Lead single, Poly Blue is the epitome of a sixties summer snapshot, with hazy imagery, bright sunshine and glowing warmth. While This Time Around flirts with a scaling vocal of vast abandon and is overflowing with emotional power. Before concluding at the album’s zenith, the sonically enchanting Aeroplane swirls in a bustling epiphany – yet again teasing the listener with lyrical content that begs to be decoded.
On Quiet Signs, Pratt has morphed from an intriguingly talented singer into a mesmerising enchantress. Like a haunting hybrid of Nico, Joanna Newsom and Julia Holter, with more than a passing nod to the majestic doom of This Mortal Coil, Pratt has delivered an intensely enthralling album that demands your attention. And if you open your heart to this record, the rewards are staggering.