Released on 4 April 2011 on Last Laugh
26 March Manchester Deaf Institute
0871 220 0260 £8
Native Californian, now transplanted to Manchester, the beguiling Jesca Hoop returns with the brand new ‘Snowglobe’ EP and a UK tour this spring.
Now signed to the US Vanguard label (home to two generations of outstanding folk, roots and blues artists) Hoop comes forth with her final self released offering. She recorded the ‘Snowglobe’ songs in her adopted new home of Manchester, where she is hard at work on her next full length album.
“Friends in high places never hurt, but Jesca Hoop hits the heights all by herself” 4/5 Mojo
Hoop was adopted by Elbow’s Guy Garvey, who showcased Hoop as main support on two US tours and a national UK jaunt. Garvey also duetted with Hoop on her memorable ‘Murder of Birds’ song, described by the likes of Word as “literally, startling”. The Eels also fell for Hoop’s arrestingly beautiful, bold and brave songs, as she supported them across the US in 2010, alongside her own headline shows there, in support of her acclaimed Hunting My Dress album. Here in the UK, her album was lavished with praise, and she was a radio favourite, hitting the airwaves everywhere from Radio 4 Women’s Hour and Loose Ends, to Radio 2’s Radcliffe & Maconie, BBC6Music’s Marc Riley and John Kennedy on XFM. So elevated is she these days that Harvard’s Divinity School has requested to include her lyrics in a collection of works!
“Hunting My Dress sounds like the sprouting of a wondrous new talent” 4/5 The Guardian
Here we have a new chapter in Jesca Hoop’s story, with four unfurling acoustic songs that allow her ravishing vocal talents, and rare emotional force to truly soar, drawing listeners in and nestling close as she hypnotises.
Opening track ‘City Bird’, urban slang for helicopter, is Hoop’s tale of living for three years in the underbelly of LA, downtown Skid Row. Flanked by the low hum of cellos and brass, Hoop’s lilting guitar, haunted, husky vocal and eerie observations of a city of lost souls is gut wrenchingly powerful.
“An assured innovative, impressive piece of work” The Observer
“In the 80s, the mental institutions in LA were shut down under Governor Ronald Reagan’s watch. The homeless population boomed at that time and what better place to go than the ghost town of east LA?” Hoops says ruefully. “Have you ever seen a card board box city? What a juxtaposition. An elite hotel with a skirt of cardboard houses wrapped around its foot, families inside. Many of the buildings were turned into crack dens. You can only imagine. Poverty, famine, drug abuse, prostitution… The block I moved onto was lined with these cardboard houses and people sleeping in doorways. What left the biggest impression on me was the look in their eyes. I witnessed many possessed. Not just abandoned, but possessed. Skid Row is filled with ghosts…walking around… still in their bones.”
In thematic contrast, ‘While You Were Away’ crackles with analogue, open fire warmth. Hoop says the song “expresses my absolute love for home”.
An older song from around the time of her Hunting My Dress songwriting phase, ‘Snowglobe’ is an account of her family, a large Mormon contingent, gathering to witness the passing of their mother. Hoop’s interweaving vocal parts rise over a backdrop of percussion and handclaps, interspersed with almost hymnal passages of her renowned vocal improvisation, the effect is utterly intoxicating. “I would have put this song on the album to accompany the other two songs that I wrote for her, but the truth is that I could not sing it with out getting choked up,” Hoop admits. “I am happy to have the opportunity to share it now.”
To finish is the acapella live show closer ‘Storms Make Grey the Sea’. Perhaps a none more perfect platform for Jesca Hoop’s amazing singing, than to let her voice simply take centre stage? “I wrote it by the sea. I am impressed by the power of music and its ability to transform the vessel it enters. I am everyday affected by it. If I want to change my mood, I change my music. Brilliant! What a mysterious medium.”
Indeed, it is. Come and be affected by Jesca Hoop’s own, wonderful music.
While You Were Away
Storms Make Grey The Sea