Jesca Hoop is an enigma. The Californian singer-songwriter is largely known for her stalwart connections: she's played babysitter to Tom Waits' children, toured with Andrew Bird, found a mentor in Elbow's Guy Garvey and been promoted by Marc Riley and John Kennedy. Yet very few have heard of her. Despite the relative success of her albums Kismet and Hunting my Dress, Hoop's music has failed to make the impression it rightly should have.



Snowglobe acts as a harrowing reminder that this isn't for a lack of talent. Recorded in Manchester following Hoop's move to British shores in 2009, her move has seen her adopt a subtle change in production techniques. The metallic clank of her sophomore album and the aftertaste of leftfield, and sometimes harsh experimentalism that has thus far touched all of her material, has been replaced by a chilling quiet. 'Snowglobe' demonstrates this departure best. The majority of the song relies on Hoop's stripped back vocal and a faint underlying string section. Long term fans need not be concerned - no other artist could have produced this record - but small alterations make Snowglobe infinitely more approachable.



Other aspects of Hoop's penmanship remain intact. The social insight she developed in early life is prevalent on the haunting 'City Bird', which reflects on the singer-songwriters time in Los Angeles' Skid Row. Her Mormon upbringing and the passing of her Mother crystallises on 'Snowglobe', an ethereal song Hoop wrote while recording Hunting my Dress. Elsewhere 'While You Were Away' and 'Storms Make Grey the Sea' justify comparisons to Bjork and add to the EP's ultimate sense of primal emotion.



It's with sad irony that Hoop has announced this will be the final release she puts out under her own name. As a new signee to US label Vanguard, her continued contribution to music is unquestionable, but the shape her talents will take has been kept under wraps. Snowglobe could have been a tantalising glimpse of a legend in the making, but in light of what's known, the final few seconds feel like something horribly precious has been ripped from the industry's chest. Whether it will be returned remains to be seen.