It's great to be able to consider Jesca Hoop a Manchester artist and I for one fully expect her to someday rank amongst the likes of Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Regina Spektor as a seminal writer and performer. It's a matter of time before she delivers the landmark album that will thus elevate her status.



The Snowglobe EP, however, fills a gap and offers hungry fans some new material to enjoy along with her current tour. Said material is pretty melancholic even by her standards. It sounds like melting ice and moves at glacial speed. Opening number 'City Bird' is, I think, about being alone in a strange and hostile built environment. “You don't sing like the birds from home sing / Your song is dying,” she laments as upright bass, cello, breathy backing vocals and muted brass lend a familiar late-night atmosphere to her guitar and voice.



'While You Were Away' opens with delicately picked electroacoustic guitar before the vocal begins to float and swoop through another depiction of dark and lonely nights; this time spent awaiting the return of a loved one. Imagery of tending the fire, baking bread and making good luck charms contrast starkly with the urban setting of 'City Bird'.



The title track features a more celtic sounding melody and harmonies. The understated keyboard and acoustic guitar accompaniment is punctuated with choruses of handclaps, tambourines and bass drum and the lyric is rich with themes of homecoming and togetherness - ostensibly much happier than the minor key and sparsely dark arrangement would have you believe.



'Storms Make Grey The Sea' tops off the EP; here the playfulness of Hoop's performance is undeniably Spektor-like on this a cappella rendition. The combination of the song's brevity, anthemic melody and themes of colour and belonging fills my head with a bizarre vision of it being adopted by a football team and sung from the terraces. It must be something in the Manchester water.



- Fraser McFadyen