November 1, 2007

Record Review: Jesca Hoop

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Although at times intimate, Jesca Hoop is never alone. Her voice is constantly doubled. Despite honest lyrics (“beautiful/ alone with my enemy/ and share a bitter cup of poisoning/ beautiful to see his face in mine/ and follow every line back to my enemy”), the production is an unnatural and annoying barrier. Hoop’s voice is lush and should do fine on its own.
Still, Stewart Copland’s drumming doesn’t hurt. Tracks like “Intelligentactile 101” travel from tweed to leather with intelligible groove — like a 1940s Ford Woody revamped into a hot rod. Hoop also amplifies the sass, which helps. “Silverscreen” has that kaleidoscope effect. But too often the colors are opaque. Hoop’s vocals are alive and alluring but all the production-spaz masks her talent. Yes, the record is unique — or because a Nellie McKay reference seems inevitable, at least irregular. But, it doesn’t sound genuine.