Reviews:: Jesca Hoop Kismet

Jesca Hoop was hired as a nanny by Tom Waits. He helped her get discovered. Ok - due diligence done (with some alliteration). Let us not make mention of that again, especially since her sound is too unique to give all the credit to the dumb luck of landing a job that although named the same, was probably much different than the one performed by the daffy girl that almost won Hell's Kitchen.

The record opens with Summertime, a folkie, almost tribal sing-along that is full of harmonies and hand claps. The song slowly builds melody by adding galloping drums and her falsetto shifts gears into a throaty, smoky croon before quickly settling back into the folk inspired imagery and sounds. Amazingly, she does all of this in 3-minutes, and it's about as close to "standard" as she gets.

Seed of Wonder uses a simple electric riff and some stomp percussion (much like her former employer - shit, I wasn't supposed to mention him again), but while Tom uses whiskey soaked, piss & vinegar vocals, Jesca's voice is more velvety and smooth. The track, which flows effortlessly over the entire 6-minutes, never uses anything more than simple notes and techniques to carry the tune and I think it's why it's so immediate. Too many bands pile on layer after layer, sound after sound, trying to forge an epic, monumental crescendo. Instead, her minimal instrumentation highlights the swirling vocals (the frantic harmonies and vocal layers remind me of the very best moments of Mother Mother's debut) that make the last minute of the song so explosive.

The one bad thing about getting promos is that you don’t get the liner notes and trying to determine all the little tinkers and ripples that creep into the mix is challenging. The simple finger picked riff of Enemy is inviting and shows that Jesca can dominate a track with just her voice, but it's the eerie ghost sounds she occasionally adds that really complete the song. As the old time movie projector plays in the background of Silverscreen, you really start to really see her personality bubble up to the top. Her sounds craft a creepy, fantasy world, but instead of dabbling in the dark, depressing corners, Hoop's vocals and persona mimic a young girl who knows it's wrong to venture into the shadows, but the excitement and wonder over powers her. Her sound, essentially, is the musical equivalent of Pan's Labyrinth.

This record has so many twists and turns that it's really hard to ignore. For every slinky, dark seductive track, she's able to completely call on other emotions of soft, gentle numbers like Love Is All We Have. She knows where to add sounds, and when they should be taken away. On Intelligentactile 101 she uses some clackity rim shot percussion and a vocoder (maybe?) to contrast her breezy vocals, but instead of bouncing along in carefree state, Hoop chooses to change speeds and add electric guitars and fashion an almost new wave, punkish twist (in a way you can imagine this song being sung by the Quin sisters).

By the time you get to Out the Back Door, nothing can shock you. The hip-hop back beat and sing/spoke delivery almost seems like something you'd expect, despite the fact it's completely fresh for her. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who can balance such a modern sound with the Hepburn-era feel of Love and Love Again.
MP3:: Summertime

web site :: myspace

@ 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous kicked the following game:

Awsome album! I appreciate your view of her inner depth. It's all true and this album encompasses everything that many of us look for in a true artist.


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