When it comes to Jesca Hoop, virtually every article ever written about her mentions the idiosyncratic fact that before she set off on her recording career she took a role as the nanny of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan's children. So I've got that out of the way in the first sentence here and can move on. There's plenty else to say about her.
Her new album Memories Are Now is a quite fabulous, glittering and many splendored object. A record the way they used to make them somehow but at the same time effortlessly contemporary. Twisting and turning, fabulously inventive both lyrically and musically and quite obviously one of the best things released so far this year. Nine tracks, all with specific attractions and identities.
Kate Bush is the obvious but inevitable comparison point. There's much to remind you of the wonderful Kate and for me particularly her 1983 album The Dreaming, (a real career statement), in its ceaseless, maverick, mythic dreaming (there's no other word which fits here!). Hoops's record has many similar tropes and preoccupations, layered, evasive but warmly melodic tracks about every aspect of life and human responses to relationships and the endlessly strange machine peopled world we find ourselves cast adrift in . You may not know exactly what she's getting at, it's a series of allusive hints but I hope you'll appreciate the questing, endlessly creative instinct that bring these songs into being. The musicianship throughout is beautifully thick and resonant. It reminds me of the enchanted forests of childhood bedtime stories told by parents whose own childhoods resonate within them and how we relate to them once we transition to adulthood and have to relate to that world, which seems to be dictated to by much less logical set of conditions and rules.
So these are the immediate set of thoughts that have come to mind listening to Memories Are Now on a Sunday morning with Spring preparing itself outside my windows. It's a record I'm sure to come back to again and again and again and which I'm sure will find itself close to the top of my list of personal favourites come the end of 2017. I recommend it to you and hope you'll arrive at similar conclusions.