Plumbiferous Media

Hunting My Dress – Jesca Hoop

Aug 1st 2010
One Comment
Hunting My Dress - Jesca HoopJesca Hoop
Hunting My Dress
Score: 89

As well as having an incredibly unique history, Northern Californian Jesca Hoop is an amazingly interesting artist. Given that, it’s no surprise that her second release is nothing short of outstanding – from a very literal point of view. There is not one bit of Hunting My Dress that is not clearly and undoubtedly Hoop, and the result is an album absolutely worth a listen.

Through Hunting My Dress, Hoop’s voice varies between different tones, from soft and melodic to rich and resonant. But whatever the tone Hoop takes on, she is always successful at painting the scene befitting her music. In one example, on “Feast of the Heart,” Hoop’s voice rings out as she sings “I wanna eat my heart / Though you make me feel,” perfectly imbuing each word with the emotion that makes the sometimes immensely odd lines seem to make perfect sense.

Lyrically, Hunting My Dress is excellent. Every word Hoop sings is skillfully weighted, creating stories and images that are not only well-written but engrossing. The contrast between tracks like the darkly romantic “Tulip” and the whimsical “Whispering Light” is substantial, but, as Hoop is just as good at any of the approaches she uses, both are excellent. Hoop’s variety of musical methods lends variation to Hunting My Dress, making sure that the album remains interesting throughout.

That said, each track is unique to such a degree that it may perhaps be best to work through the songs individually. The album opens with “Whispering Light,” a track clearly centered both on its melody, which tells its own story, acting as companion to the track’s lyrics, and its extremely creative chords. The instrumentals themselves are sparse – a percussion line and a guitar line that’s very nearly a rhythm guitar itself, plus just a touch of synth. It fits the pondering, trodding melody and lyrics, and all in all, works excellently. Following “Whispering Light” is “The Kingdom,” a folk-based track with completely contemporary construction (a description which also applies more or less to the album as a whole). Especially after the excellent transition at the 1/3 mark around which the track is built, “The Kingdom” turns further towards a modern sound, far enough that, though it’s hard not to want to, it’s nearly impossible to fully appreciate the track. That, however, is not necessarily a bad thing.

And then comes “Four Dreams.” From the timeless, careful, and yet still contemporary sound emerges something entirely different. The best description for the vocals is that they employ “sometimes-harmony,” creating a childlike sound (despite what the more mature, plodding instrumentals would prefer). But the track is then cut off short and replaced with “Angel Mom.” This new track is an excellent track in its own right, but it is so utterly unlike “Four Dreams” – to enough of an extent that it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to find that the album’s track order had been decided by a rabid buffalo – and that’s a truly terrifying image. In all seriousness, while some are certainly better than others, every track of Hunting My Dress is terrific and unique in its own right, and it’s really only the track ordering where the album is let down.

Hunting My Dress is, in short, an excellent album. With this sophomore release, Hoop has combined a clear sense of creativity with lessons learned from earlier releases to create an eminently enjoyable set of music. Hunting My Dress is well-composed, well-sung, and simply well done, forming music that is as enjoyable at the first minute as the last.

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One Response

  1. curiousted says:

    This is indeed a wonderful, magical collection of songs. I bought the UK edition last November. The US release adds an EP’s worth of extra tracks that are every bit as good as those on the CD. My only quibble is the cover artwork. Vanguard should have stuck with the UK art, which is dark and lovely and shows Jesca in all her eccentric beauty.

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