Jesca Hoop: Memories Are Now (SubPop)

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Animal Kingdom Chaotic
Jesca Hoop: Memories Are Now (SubPop)

Now half a dozen albums into a career (one with Sam Beam aka Iron and Wine) this transplanted American -- who lived in Manchester for a while then returned to the US  -- is almost emblematic of the world we live in, where musical information from diverse sources (plus static, the surface noise of life etc) can all collide equally in our subconscious.

Hoop's gift is in her ability filter out many threads and then re-weave them into something her own.

So for example the opener-title track is an amalgam of quasi-poetic speak-sing and romantic Fifties girl-pop over a shifting, loping beat and the closer The Coming is slow, quite beautiful Lou-like ballad about Jesus announcing the end of his reign and asking the Devil for a new gig.

Between these points Animal Kingdom Chaotic tickles away like a strange, childlike folk song with unsettling percussive bangs to keep you alert, Cut Connection opens like a Joy Division outtake and hikes up towards a shrill stomper, Unsaid is a desperate plea to a lover which comes with a shapeshifting melody and Pegasi is an elegant folk song (“When we're in love we're alive”) on acoustic guitar with pedal steel.

Musically she's a hard woman to pin down – she was Tom Waits' nanny so heaven knows what idiosyncratic sounds she was exposed too – but lyrically many of these literate songs – religious and cosmic imagery abounds – songs express her individuality, the desire to explore and the enduring aspects of love.

Rather different and very special.

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