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Me­mories Are Now


LISTEN: ‘Me­mories Are Now’

8/10 Gorgeous min­i­mal­ism from

Manch­ester-based Cal­i­for­nian Seven al­bums into a de­fi­antly in­de­pen­dent ca­reer and Jesca

Hoop is only hit­ting her stride. The singer re­lo­cated from sun-kissed Cal­i­for­nia to Manch­ester back in 2008, hav­ing fallen for El­bow’s tour man­ager, af­ter a jaunt around the US sup­port­ing Guy Gar­vey’s ex­cel­lent mob. Hap­pily, the change in cli­mate hasn’t damp­ened her tal­ent. In fact, the former nanny to Tom Waits’ chil­dren has de­liv­ered her most con­fi­dent state­ment of in­tent yet with Me­mories Are Now.

Recorded by Hoop her­self with fel­low Cal­i­for­nian Blake Mills – who also con­trib­utes bass, drums, gui­tars and back­ing vo­cals – these nine songs are light on ar­range­ment but heavy on im­pact, the min­i­mal in­stru­men­ta­tion al­low­ing Hoop’s voice and her pow­er­ful lyrics to take cen­tre stage.

“I’ve lived enough life, I’ve earned my stripes”, she sings on the

open­ing ti­tle track, an im­pres­sive state­ment of in­tent where her lay­ered vo­cals flit in and out of earshot; some­times join­ing forces for a stun­ning cho­ral ef­fect, as Hoop lays down the law. In­deed, you wouldn’t want to get on Jesca’s bad side, for fear you might end up in one of her songs. “When we said the words ‘I love you’/ I said them ‘cos they are true/ Why would you say those words to me if you could not fol­low through?” she ad­mon­ishes on ‘The Lost Sky’, por­ing over the dregs of a love gone sour.

Tech­nol­ogy and reli­gion fea­ture strongly through­out, with Hoop equally sus­pi­cious of both. ‘An­i­mal King­dom Chaotic’ and ‘Si­mon

Says’ ar­gue that tech is tak­ing over our lives, with the lat­ter tak­ing a par­tic­u­larly well-aimed dig at allper­vad­ing con­sumerism: “As we pix­e­late a gen­er­a­tion, chil­dren be­come ap­pli­ca­tion”. ‘Songs Of

Old’, mean­while, ex­am­ines how one cul­ture’s tem­ple of wor­ship is built on the blood of an­other, while ‘The Com­ing’ imag­ines a dis­il­lu­sioned Je­sus los­ing his reli­gion: “I can’t turn a blind eye to cen­turies of con­flict and wrong-do­ing in his name.”

Not your av­er­age singer­songer­writer al­bum about loves lost, then. Great stuff.


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