9/10



Cloaked in a musical Mormon upbringing, Californian Jesca Hoop rebelled against this in her teenage years, smoking pot and listening to the likes of Bjork, Kate Bush and Tom Waits, who she incidentally went on to work for as a nanny.



It was Waits, who back in 2003 at Southern Californian radio station KCRW, exposed her talent, and has since spoken of her music as akin to "going swimming in a lake at night". Since then, Hoop has opened shows for critically acclaimed artists such as Andrew Bird, Elbow and Mark Knopfler; winning her recognition on both sides of the Atlantic and landing her likenesses to some of the most original and genre breaking artists of recent years...Joanna Newsom to name but one.



Her second full length LP Hunting My Dress was released in late 2009 after the artist's move to Manchester, England and 'Whispering Light' is the opening track.



Altogether enticing and entrancing; the vocals shout out from their shrouded spot behind the dark, dense percussion - perhaps mirroring the story behind the lyrics: inspired by a telephone conversation with her late mother who died of cancer. This may also contribute to the security of repetition in both music and lyrics which twist and wind their way around each other before repeating on themselves in a darkly trance-like eulogy.



Hoop's style is an amalgamation and a contradiction. Her vocals are truly unique in terms of enunciation and delivery; and take on an unplaceable colloquialism that is both otherworldly yet universally relatable. She pulls us in with the cappella vocals that call out like birdsong in the song's opening, but no sooner this than she throws a guise over her words in uttering "the whispering light/the truth is awful quiet" so that we must inch our way through note by note to uncover the truth to her narrative.



There are too many intricacies so carefully tucked away that they only reveal themselves after subsequent listens. It is strange that at one and the same time an immediately intriguing, spellbinding track can be such a slow burner, revealing more and more of itself as we follow its path through the aviary.