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Jesca Hoop – “The House That Jack Built” Review

I have always enjoyed Jesca Hoop’s music but I’ve always found each album takes time to get into. What surprised me then was how immediate I found “The House That Jack Built” compared to the previous two to fall into and enjoy. Maybe its the general familiarity of the music, maybe it’s because it’s a bit more stompier, maybe its just a bit more honed. Who knows – it’s great and that’s all the matters.

“Born To” opens with a feistier Jesca returning to a more grungier slide guitar and ukulele. The vocals all slide beautifully with Jesca’s slightly offbeat delivery where she seems slightly adverse to just singing to the beat. With a more rougher round the edges delivery all round though it makes it more punchy and fierce. As she declares “I was born to” it really gets you roused. “Pack Animal” continues the rockier edge with a more upbeat track where the guitars, bass and vocals are all pressed very close to the foreground as the track ramps up and up to its cute final chorus. “Peacemaker” continues the heavy industrial percussive side as things get aggressive and war waging as it warps around various pre choruses and codas like an angry wolf or much like the volcanic eruption depicted on the front cover. “Hospital (Win Your Love)” is the most directly poppy track from Jesca since “Money” as the sublime guitars occupy one speaker while the jamboree drums pulsating elsewhere over quick fire vocals.

The title track is the first quiet track on the album as a  beautiful electric guitar / vocal ballad. The finger work is sublime and Hoop’s husky broken edges make this a wonderful piece. “Ode to Banksy” is a slightly psychedelic rock out track with some fun guitar motifs  and plenty of reverbed hand claps for good measure. It harks right back to the mid 70s!  “Dig This Record” sounds really familiar but I can’t place it! It’s got a really strong guitar riff for the verses that just stays with you as it dirges and plods through its four minutes with its grungy shuffle. “D.N.R.” is a simple folk ballad that is a small space of solace in amongst the echoes before the heavily spaced out “Deeper Devastation” comes across like an alien beauty with eerie backing vocals like a Theremin as she sings “You can’t trust a human to do the right thing”. It’s a real stand out. The closer “When I’m Asleep” veers towards an eastern influenced power pop track where the verses are looped guitars and the choruses are power chords blasting at 200%. It’s a real crowd pleasing finale and a great sign off.

Many people may say its more of the same but when you do it so well why change? Jesca Hoop has moved into a much more grungier and industrial edged sound for her third album. I think it suits her to a T. Absolutely highly recommended and surprise contender for a top 5 on my albums of 2012 rankings so far.

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