THROUGH THE HOOP: There's no staying neutral on Jesca Hoop and her second album "Hunting My Dress" (Vanguard, A-) . In the vein of a Bjork, PJ Harvey or Kate Bush, you'll find Hoop fascinating or off-putting and for much the same reasons - her soaring range, tongue-rolling pronunciation (sometimes appearing British, though she's not) and equally lofty musical lines, hearkening at times to traditional music (again with the British thing) and oft taking a crafty, mid-song "bridge" to another world.



I've also got to mention Hoop's strange and sensual word play on the likes of "Feast of the Heart" and "Murder of Birds," the one that opens with an exotic Malian guitar and declares, "I've got demons when I need 'ems."



And I love (as if you couldn't guess) the gear-shifting in "Bed Across the Sea," wherein Jesca begs a faraway lover to "drop me in your virtual garden."



No surprise, the woman had an unusual upbringing, raised on Mormon hymns, rebelling as a runaway Deadhead, later given career guidance by Tom Waits and wife Kathleen Brennen while serving as nanny for their kids.



Hoop dunks 'em on Friday at the WXPN "Free at Noon" concert series at World Cafe Live. Sign up for free admission at www.xpn.org.