Jesca Hoop returns with her third album The House That Jack Built on her own label on June 25th 2012.
The House That Jack Built deftly showcases its author’s unflinching tendency to pull focus from widescreen to close-up. Part siren song, part grim warning, it achieves a perspective-warping balance between the haunting intimacy of Hoop’s delivery and an unconfined air of horizon-scanning grandeur from the outset – tempestuous, moodily melodic opener ‘Born To’ shares this striking duality with later highlights ‘When I’m Asleep’, ‘Peacemaker’ and ‘Deeper Devastation’.
It arrives with more than a few splashes on its hands. Life and death; light and dark; sex and war; head and heart: The House That Jack Built offers up as much in celebration of the macabre as it does in mistrust of the familiar, with a twist of humour. It’s steeped in an allusion to biology, nature and humanity, but drops precious few clues as to whether its next rush of imagery is set to beguile or repel.
The follow up to 2009’s universally critically acclaimed Hunting My Dress, the new recording is a co-production between Jesca Hoop and three other producers – “ a drop of blood in the can from each of us rendered a more radical sound” says Hoop – and this visceral album will open a whole new world of listeners to Jesca’s music. Returning to Tony Berg’s Zeitgeist Studio in Los Angeles, where she recorded Hunting My Dress, Jesca enlisted old friends Shawn Everett, Blake Mills and Tony Berg himself as her co-producers. Says Hoop, “What a combination of minds, these three men & me. It was a real balancing act with tensions pulling toward one or the other. Striking that balance was the ticket to some of the most elevated moments in my musical collaborations to date.”
Admitting that writing the record was an often an insular, isolating experience – “I spent days and days without leaving the house and having zero contact with others” Hoop found herself exploring topics as diverse as Greek tragedies (Peacemaker), street artist Banksy (Ode To Banksy) and her often turbulent relationship with her father (DNR and the album’s title track).
Born To – the first single from the album – asks a question we’ve all asked ourselves “how is it that I was born into the circumstances I was born into. How is it some of us are born into famine and others into unimaginable wealth”. In Hospital (Win Your Love) she tackles “a human quality that causes us to crave injury” recalling childhood memories and on Deeper Devastation – her favourite song on the record – a fear of infidelity, this song Hoop says “is about accepting nature and learning to trust”.
Elsewhere, Pack Animal and Dig This Record find Hoop spinning very different threads to equally hypnotic effect. Throughout Hoop’s stone-turning observations remain mired in the equal beauty and violence of nature, hers is a nature red in tooth and claw.
Since self-releasing Hunting My Dress, Jesca Hoop has continued her knack for collecting fans in high places. Having been endorsed by Elbow’s Guy Garvey she’s been invited to present his 6music show on March 25th transmitted at 22:00-00:00 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01dy3gt
she’s joined Eels on their US and European tour in 2011 and was invited by Peter Gabriel to sing backing vocals for his David Letterman and Jools Holland TV performances, and support and duet with him on his South American tour last year. With the release of The House That Jack Built, Jesca is set to pick up a host of new fans, high profile or not.
Praise for Hunting My Dress:
“So startlingly original… the Manchester based Californian whose remarkable new album Hunting My Dress confirms her as one of alternative folk-pop’s most arresting recent arrivals” Sunday Times
“Friends in high places never hurt, but Jesca Hoop hits the heights all by herself” Mojo****
“A beguiling first step” Q****
“Murder of Birds’ is, literally, startling” Word
“Devastatingly delicious” Time Out****
“Hunting My Dress sounds like the sprouting of a wondrous new talent” The Guardian****
“An assured innovative, impressive piece of work” The Observer
“Strange but delightful” The Sun
“Sheer force of passion and personality render Hoop’s free form digressions bright and utterly beguiling” The Independent
“A new sound that is both studied and inspired” 4/5 The Times****
“Genuinely gorgeous… the likes of which come along all too rarely” Music Week
“Pitch-perfect folk” Grazia
“4/5” Evening Standard