It's not hard to warm to someone who gets us to be quiet, in the plushy snug of a gastropub, by singing a cappella, and later initiates a game of pass-the-parcel. Such strategies for crowd control must have come in useful when Jesca Hoop, a 33-year-old Californian now residing in Manchester, was a nanny to Tom Waits's kids. Almost instantly, though, the quality of her songs, played mostly unplugged with a backing singer and a second guitarist, commands attention.

Out this week, Hunting My Dress, her UK debut album, is a tricky record to label. Hoop's abundant talent seems to try on various musical outfits - flitting gracefully between Joanna Newsom-ish whimsy, Suzanne Vega-like pop hooks and somehow Celtic-sounding folkie airs - without obviously settling on a definitive look. Then again, mix and match may be her signature style for she wears it pretty well. In performing “Four Dreams”, she combines pitter-patter acoustic plucking, a schoolyard chant of a chorus and a countrified middle-eight that totters around in the manner of a Deep South lush.