What the hell is that accent? And that singing style-something between Nick Cave creepy and cabaret . . . Oh, no wonder. Jesca Hoop was a nanny for Tom Waits.



It is safe to say that Jesca Hoop's sophomore album is unusual in the extreme-a little Petra Haden, a little Bjork and Kate Bush, a sprinkle of Suzanne Vega, a tad Joni and Tori . . . But also unique. Most definitely unique. Jesca's songs, which she writes herself, are rootsy and folksy and quirky, and incredibly interesting. On The Kingdom, for example, she starts building a groove around a fairly simple percussion line, but every time the listener starts to settle in, she turns on a dime. The song keeps moving, like a midtempo rollercoaster.



All of her songs are like this-disarming and eclectic-but to her credit, they remain charming. It would be easy to be put off here-to write her off as so weird that she's just silly-but her tone is so passionate and her voice so beautiful that the listener allows her her eccentricity. This music isn't different just to be different, it's different because she's different.



Oh, and if you're into it, the lead single “Murder of Birds,” features backing vocals by Guy Garvey of Elbow. It's a good tune, but cameos are unnecessary distractions from the main event. Jesca is amazing.



What a ride!