I saw Jesca Hoop play live in Manchester back in June. Despite having the misfortune to be playing to a slightly fidgety audience at the Academy 3 on the same night as the Stone Roses were playing at Heaton Park, she delivered a spirited and engaging set.
Alongside a number of songs from her excellent debut Hunting My Dress were tracks from her new album The house that Jack built. I bought the album after the gig from the merchandise stall, and am happy to say that The house that Jack built has since earned a place in my heart reserved purely for my favourite albums. It might, or might not, make an appearance in this years end of year charts in the music press and online but, for me at least, the contest is over: The house that Jack built is the album of the year.
A particular highlight of that evening in June, for me, was Hoop’s exuberant performance of ‘When I’m Asleep’, the closing track on The house that Jack built.
Louise Allan has reviewed The house that Jack built for The F-Word, here is a taster of her review:
“Dig it out of the basement, out of the discard and onto the record player,” Jesca Hoop urges on ‘Dig This Record’, a chunky, tribal tune in the heart of The House That Jack Built. By this point in the proceedings, most listeners won’t be able to resist doing some digging.
Hoop’s third album is a collection of thickly-textured arrangements, tangled melodies and startling lyrics that demand a closer look. Bearing in mind her back story, it’s no surprise this lady’s got a few stories to tell. A folkie raised in northern California, Hoop fled her Mormon family in her teens to live in the wilderness, including a stint on a rehabilitation project for children. She has a more succinct way of putting it: “I was raised Mormon until I was 16, and then I fucked off.”