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Tell me Jesca Hoop, who are you this time?

Memories are Now, is a bold and inventive collection from Jesca Hoop who says each new record begins with a musical identity crisis

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by Jason Lewis, UK Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2017
a frequently fascinating and compelling album

Jesca Hoop
Memories Are Now
(Subpop)

‘...you haven't  broken me yet, you don't scare me to death, though you try…’  Jesca Hoop declares on the title track of her new album Memories are Now, before asserting ‘if you're not here to help, go find some other life to ruin’  The song is based around a minimal bass guitar arrangement and little else, it is a remarkably raw introduction to an enthralling collection of songs. 

A solitary acoustic guitar accompanies Hoop on the rancorous rebuke of The Lost Sky‘A love like ours comes around once in a lifetime…’ she confesses, before castigating the errant partner with ‘....why would you say those words to me if you could not follow through?’ It is a visceral and uncompromising song.

jesca hoop
Jesca Hoop - Memories are Now

An old typewriter taps out the percussion on the techno-fearing Animal Kingdom Chaotic, which is sadly marred by the repetition of ‘computer says no’ that evokes memories of the wearisome Little Britain routine it was inspired by. Fortunately, there’s a more satisfying critique of the ‘pixelated generation’ created by the Internet on the heady singalong of Simon Says.

The most exquisite moment on Memories are Now is the folk tinged Pegasi which subtly moves turns from a celebration of ideal love to deliver a heart-breaking twist when Hoop’s mythological alter-ego speculates : ‘I fear you'll see the day when I've endured all I can take.’ as she fears she may never be able to be able to remain earth-bound.

Memories are Now concludes with the startling The Coming, her solo electric guitar and quietly intense vocal is reminiscent of Anna Calvi. The song imagines a day when Jesus ‘turns in his crown of thorns’ and announces ‘to the earth and the heavens, the end of his reign.’ What follows is a quietly intense rejection of her spiritual upbringing which includes her personal anger that a friend from a family of atheists would not be going to going to heaven. She concludes that ‘I’m losing my religion, layer by layer’. It provides a haunting and irreverent end to a frequently fascinating and compelling album.

 

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Jason Lewis
UK Music Editor

Jason Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jason's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

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