Release Date: Feb 17, 2014
Record label: Last Laugh
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Jesca Hoop’s ‘Hunting My Dress’ is not the most obvious candidate for a stripped-down remake: the 2009 album achieved cult fame at best and was hardly an overproduced mess. Yet here’s ‘Undress’, an album of “live and intimate” recordings of songs from Hoop’s second album. It’s no radical reinvention, sure, but the singer captures these songs in their most up-close-and-personal state, with instrumentation stripped back to nearly zero – a guitar here, a clap there – and Hoop’s rich voice like a whisper in your ear.
The 'issue' with this record is clear from the off; Undress isn’t an original effort, per se - it's a stripped-back, largely acoustic take on the tracks from Jesca Hoop’s second LP, Hunting My Dress. You’re bound to form an immediate opinion, of course, as to whether it’s an ambitious reworking or a lazy do-over. There’s evidence to suggest that the album was a bit of a labour of love, with funding coming via Pledge Music.
Last year Jesca Hoop – Santa Rosa’s premier singer-songwriter with pop panache and and a taste for rock riffery – unveiled The Complete Kismet Acoustic, a bare-bones retelling of her debut LP from 2007, entitled Kismet. This stripping-down of tracks was a smash hit with fans, and she’s returned now – thanks to a successful Pledge Music campaign – with a dramatic restructuring of Hunting My Dress, the record Hoop created after moving to Manchester; this new version is labelled Undress. She’s not alone either, and we see Hoop escorted by musicians Guy Garvey, Erika Wennerstrom, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Willy Mason into the throes of sonic battle.