Friday, 7 September 2012

Album review: JESCA HOOP - The House That Jack Built

Highlights: Born To, Ode To Banksy, D.N.R., Deeper Devastation, When I’m Asleep

There are quite a few artists you could compare this stuff to, from Vashti Bunyan to Fiona Apple to PJ Harvey (I can feel a bit of that classic Let England Shake-like vibe here). But equally it’s impossible to deny the identity, the personality behind this oddball collection that owes as much to folk music as it does to contemporary pop. And it’s a real grower, too, filled with the sort of charismatic, original hooks that will keep you coming back for more.

The House That Jack Built is Jesca Hoop’s third, and it certainly is her most accomplished and adventurous album to date. The sheer range of stuff she does here, stylistically, vocally, instrumentally, is just astonishing, and should probably remind you of Kate Bush at her inventive best. The bouncy catchy pop of “Hospital (Win Your Love)”, the reggae of “Pack Animal”, to edgy guitar rock of my personal favourite, “Ode To Banksy”, to classic folk of “D.N.R.”, to the bizarre and unsettling “Peacemaker”, maybe not everything comes out perfect, but you surely won’t find one boring moment on the whole record. And I haven’t even mentioned “Deeper Devastation”, the moment of truly desperate, tortured beauty. That guitar line alone would be enough to make it a classic.

Don’t know about commercially, but artistically The House That Jack Built is a minor triumph. Currently on my top 10 list of 2012’s best albums. My eight being a clear understatement.


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