Three years is a long time in terms of musical trends, and many an artist returns to the fold after time out to find that their sound is deemed no longer relevant. However, Californian born, Manchester based singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop is an act that defies trends. While her sound has a distinct folk-pop base, it easily surfs between genres and is all the more relevant for its diversity.
As Hoop returns with “The House That Jack Built”, her third album and the follow-up to 2009′s “Hunting My Dress”, it is clear that Hoop has a bit more bite in her belly as she mixes attitude and openness in equal measure. The delicate “Pack Animal” epitomises the mix, with a pretty melody matched by strong, forthright lyrics.
While her earlier releases more than showcased Hoop’s abilities to pen a pretty ditty, “The House That Jack Built” suggests that Hoop has been paying attention the some of Scandinavia’s finest, with Bjork’s eccentricity channelled for the romp “Peacemaker”, Kate Havnevik’s verve for “Hospital (Win Your Love)”, Ane Brun’s heartfelt storytelling for “The House That Jack Built” and Olof Arnald’s ponderings on “D.N.R”. All these points of reference are delivered with panache and individuality, those comparisons can be drawn, Hoop is in a league of her very own.
While all the aforementioned help to form the near perfect ten track “The House That Jack Built”, Hoop really shines on the more playful numbers. While “Ode To Banksy” is a proper earworm, its sugary sweet delivery never nears the irritating. Equally noteworthy is the soulfully direct “Dig This Record”, which should it ever be released to radio, would be a strong contendor for the number 1 spot.
“The House That Jack Built” may not be Hoop’s most original effort, but that is far from a detracting factor. A tender, touching beautiful record which mixes colours to paint a perfect picture. Hoop is hot property right now, and if “The House That Jack Built” is a taster of what is still to come from Miss Hoop, then album number 4 excites me already…
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams