Curious folk-rock: stripped back edition.
Every album Jesca Hoop writes seems to end up reimagined one way or another. She loves her folk music but she also loves to dress it up with some excellent production chaos too. That means anyone who wants one or the other will usually get their wish when Jesca returns to reimagine her works. That’s what happens with ‘The Deconstruction of Jack’s House’ which pulls apart her 2012 album ‘The House That Jack Built’. I love the album and was very curious to see how Jesca would tackle it.
The best way to describe this version of the album is unplugged but not flat. That means bombastic visceral rock tracks like ‘Born To’ and ‘Peacemaker’ still have their energy – it’s just channelled differently. For instance, the guitar is electric but it’s a bouncy finger pluck of a dum-da-da that carries the tempo. What was the bass is now the bass and melody combined like a guitar foot-tapping beat. All the drums are removed bar one track (‘Dig This Record’) and replaced with occasional shakers too. It’s a real stripped back affair but it never feels barren or bare. That’s because there is always at least two guitars on the go at once to make that rhythmic guitar foundation and then Jesca sings from there.
This change doesn’t stop Jesca Hoop from belting out the refrains such as in ‘Ode to Banksy’. It’s just that instead of a wall of noise guitars, it’s a curious mix of sharp guitar playing and tight fretwork that borders sounding like a plucked violin. It gives the entire album an air of curiosity. I was worried that this striped back revisit might sound a bit one note. Thankfully it doesn’t. There’s enough emotion, dynamism and depth to draw you in and not get ear tired. Very few changes are made to the songs. I swear ‘DNR’ is slower and the vocals are delivered in a more lethargic way. I also think ‘Deeper Devastation’ is slightly slower too but the choruses are brighter with some beautiful vocals to bring beauty to the sadness. It also shows that Jesca’s music can stand alone without production tricks too. This might be a deconstruction but it’s more of a foundation laying. No tracks are played differently or less formed but they are naked without the electric noise of the record.
Is it better? I think that’s probably the wrong question. Different styles for different moods in my opinion. It’s lovely to have the choice.
Recommended track: Peacemaker
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