Presenting Jesca Hoop, your new favourite solo artist
It may sound odd, but one of the few problems with great music is it is often popular. Just think of bands like Radiohead; represented comprehensively on any University student's 'iTunes' (despite displaying a very low play count) and it is considered very agreeable to like such a band in a 'Facebook', click-click kind of way. An artist that is often "hyped" and so widely renowned in this way can be a little repulsive and feel like an impersonal choice when asked your favourite band at a party.
With Jesca Hoop however, you have no such thing to worry about. I've been to Uni, I've been to parties and I have even spent time in coffee shops surrounded by people whose vertebrae now resemble an upside-down umbrella and, though the topic of whose colour of chinos best complimented their 'iPhone' case is often brought up, Jesca's name has never been mentioned. This is by no means a reflection of her talents; she is up and coming, and a great choice as your new favourite artist.
Jesca Hoop is a singer-songwriter and guitarist, she creates stunning and unique music that Tom Waits describes as like "going swimming in a lake at night". She is a raw performer who doesn't hide behind the over-use of vibrato with her vocals. She attacks the words deftly and just as her voice shows the sign of trailing off, it takes off instead.
Jesca is currently touring after recording her third album, The House That Jack Built. It shows evidence of an exposure and engagement with contemporary music where before her music, like a placid lake, seemed very untouched and undisturbed. For this though, I can only anticipate commendation rather than condemnation.
The first track Born To is both arresting and for better or worse, mature. Its structure is settling, conventional and she described the song herself as one written to "encourage", providing a strong and positive statement with which to kick start the record.
Despite proclaiming that her "pencil is dull" in the song Ode to Banksy, this is certainly Jesca's most playful album with elements of pop and modern techniques used on tracks like Hospital (Win Your Heart), a song that revisits her childhood memories and with a chorus that is currently imprisoned within my head as I write this.
More so than any music, her style could just as conceivably be attributed to her lifestyle growing up in the wilderness of California and the writing of Edgar Allen Poe. On her 'myspace' page, she lists her influences and signs off with "any music that is good...and may the lord help you if you can't tell the difference". Those who can tell the difference could do a lot worse than to check out Jesca's music and, if you do need guidance, she's a great place to start.