Snowglobe is the fifth and final self-release from Californian Jesca Hoop, now signed to the US Vanguard label, and features four original tracks showcasing the varied styles she has to offer and we hope to see in her coming albums.
The EP was recorded in Hoop’s adopted home town of Manchester and sees a darker and grittier alternative to the psychedelic sounds she produced whilst stateside. The release comes ahead of an eight date UK tour this month that will give her the chance to deliver her material as an artist in her own right. To date, Hoop has provided support for The Eels and Elbow and has become somewhat of an adoptee to frontman Guy Garvey. Garvey, who duetted with Hoop on her acclaimed Murder Of Birds, was by no means the first of Hoop’s friends in high places, Tom Waits described the 34-year-old’s sound to “going swimming in a lake at night,” whilst Hoop was a child-carer for his children.
Past releases from Hoop have become favourites amongst radio DJ’s, but Snowglobe does not promise the same attention and is far less commercial or radio friendly. The four acoustic tracks see the bare bones of the artist and demonstrate her raw talent as an independent singer/songwriter.
The opening track, ‘City Bird’, apparently urban slang for helicopter, is Hoop’s tale of living for three years in the underbelly of LA, downtown Skid Row. The haunting track is accompanied by strings which compliment beautifully a track that really showcases Hoop’s vocal range.
Track two, ‘While You Were Away’ is equally eerie as it crackles with analogue and is deeply nostalgic. The lyrics express Hoop’s love for home and is performed with a suitably girlish sing-song approach.
Snowglobe is the title track for good reason, standing out considerably from its neighbours despite its inconspicuous placing in the track listing. The track was written earlier than the others, omitted from Hoop’s 2009 album as the singer revealed the account of her large Morman family, gathering to witness her mother’s passing, choked her up too much to perform back then. Hoop’s high pitched tones are contrasted by African-style chanting and the track has a distinctively gothic feel to it comparable to the likes of Kate Bush. There’s also hints of Celtic influences which make the track feel warmly familiar.
‘Storms Make Grey the Sea’ is the best example of what Hoop is trying to achieve with Snowglobe. The a cappella track plays out the EP as a last ditch attempt for Hoop to maintain her indie persona before signing with the big boys. While this makes sense and is almost commendable, the one and a half minute track frankly lets down the three previous accomplished tracks.
Words: Antonia Charlesworth