Review : Jesca Hoop - The House That Jack Built
GuardianPerhaps the most surprising thing about Jesca Hoop's back story – a Mormon upbringing, a period sleeping out in the wilderness, a job nannying Tom Waits's kids – is how little eccentricity it seems to have conferred on her music. Her third album has plenty of likable qualities: mild lyrical quirkiness (making doe eyes at Banksy), moderate eclecticism (dabbling in 70s MOR and breathy electropop), and an unerring knack for hummable melodies. But only when grappling painfully with memories of her late father on DNR, does she leave a strong impression. Otherwise, if there's a deeper wellspring of strangeness and intensity here, it goes untapped....full text
MusicomhJesca Hoop's last album, Hunting My Dress - her first since she'd upped sticks from LA to sunny Manchester - created quite a storm even before anyone had heard it. With high profile fans shouting her praises it was eagerly anticipated, so when review copies hit desks and the reviews lived up to the hype, she must've breathed a huge sigh of relief. Now a known entity, she's found her feet and relaxed into a sound that blends the kookiness of her first releases with a new poppy sound that could endear her to those who found her back catalogue a little intense.
Her famous backers were, of course, Tom Waits - for whom she worked as a live-in nanny to his three children - and Elbow front man Guy Garvey. As Hoop packed her bags to head over to UK, in lieu of a traditional job reference, Waits provided her with a reflection on her music - "Jesca Hoop's music is like a four sided coin. She's an old soul, like a good witch, a black pearl or a red moon. It's like swimming in a lake at night." It's a quote that, unsurprisingly, made people sit up and take notice. Garvey's assistance was somewhat more practical; after hearing her song Havoc In Heaven on a mix tape given to him by Leigh Watson of The Watson Twins, he was smitten and tracked her down to ask her to appear on his 6Music show and to support Elbow on a US tour....full text
Independent"Dig it out of the basement, out of the discard and onto the record player," sings Jesca Hoop on "Dig This Record", one of several delightful curiosities on The House That Jack Built.
The songs' serpentine melodies, complex lyrics and darkly textured arrangements, which never sacrifice pop appeal, recall Heather Nova, early Sinead – even Kate Bush in the burst of Bulgarian-style polphony that caps opener "Born To". Elsewhere, treated drums and de-tuned twangs build a swirling middle-eastern perfume around the erotic inveiglements of "Peacemaker", while "Hospital (Win Your Love)" blends chipper pop charm with the eccentric observation that "there's nothing like a broken arm to win your love". Imaginative and innovative in equal measure....full text
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