Tom Waits says of Jesca Hoop: ‘She is like an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night.’

And Tom should know, on her new album “Memories are Now” Waits’ former children’s nanny as well as opening act for Peter Gabriel, collaborator with Sam Beam, Shearwater and Guy Garvey among others, delivers a confident mix of intelligent, quirky, often beautiful songs that attest to the opening title tracks confident proclamation:

‘Clear the way, I’m coming through, no matter what you say, I’ve got work to be doing, if you’re not here to help, go find some other life to ruin.’

These and other lyrics that speak of the need to ‘cut connection’ and ‘take back control’ display a maturity and confidence that is deftly accompanied throughout by a savoury, simmering stew of predominantly acoustic instrumentation provided by producer Blake Mills’ atmospheric guitar shapes, augmented with a slew of percussion, and occasional distorted electric guitar, all of which enhance the overall organic atmosphere.

 

The album strides purposefully along until ‘Songs of Old’ dials things down with a folk arrangement that manages to swoop and swirl haphazardly while lyrically addressing religion and it’s ability to oppress, while vocally Hoop discovers a range and delivery that displays hitherto unsuspected gospel sensibilities. Two songs later she closes the album with ‘The Coming’ which she calls ‘Songs of Old’ twin as she sings again about ‘losing my religion’ in another down-tempo gospel-lite confessional.

It’s emotional, confident, powerful stuff delivered in the velvet glove that is her captivating voice that sounds like no-ones but her own; until the lilting, fingerpicked ‘Pegasi’, when she conjures the ghost of Judee Sill to deliver the album’s most beautiful, straightforward and accessible offering.

Lovers of PJ Harvey, Martha Wainwright, and a certain Mr.Waits will find plenty to unravel and enjoy in this treasure of earthy delights.

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JESCA HOOP
Memories are Now
(SubPop, 2016)

-Genre: indie folk

Lire une critique de cet album en français ici.

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About The Author

Gary A. Rutland
Collaborator - RREVERB

Gary’s been listening to music since the 60’s and has the scars to prove it. Failed dalliance’s with violins and guitars couldn’t stop him fronting the Punk band Moscow and being spat on by 2000 Welsh punks in the summer of 1977 while supporting John Peel faves The Motors at Cardiff Top Rank. He spent 15 years selling some of the finest music by some of the best musicians in the world.