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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