“Lyre Bird” by Jesca Hoop

"Lyre Bird" by Jesca Hoop is Northern Transmissions Song of the Day. The track is off the UK singer/songwriter's LP Order of Romance 9/16
Jesca Hoop photo by Aga Mortlock

After the announcement of her new album Order of Romance, Jesca Hoop has shared the album track “Lyre Bird,” the follow up to lead single “Hatred Has a Mother.” The LP drops on September 16th, via Memphis Industries. Hoop will tour behind the album, starting October 30th in Amsterdam.

Like a lot of tour ready musicians in 2020, Jesca Hoop suddenly found she had time on her hands, and like a lot of musicians, with stages blacked out, she turned her work inward. As it was for many people, those housebound days were some of the most tumultuous of her life, and she found the discipline and balance of a daily writing routine essential in coping with the unknowns that assailed us all during that time. But Order of Romance is most assuredly not a journaling of the last two years. It is a deep dive into craft. As Jessica says “I set out to mature as a writer, to further clarity my voice and stance, through melodies and phrases only I can construct. Order of Romance feels like every person, character, or artist, I ever was over the many seasons of my life was handed an instrument to play across the songs.”

In the summer of 2021, Hoop once again ventured south from her adopted home of Manchester to Bristol to team up with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding), her collaborator for 2019’s Stonechild. This time additional assistance came from in Jess Vernon (This is the Kit) to arrange for a four-piece horn and woodwind quintet. Legendary drummer Seb Rochford lent his skills, John Thorne plays the bass and Chloe Foy and Rachel Rimmer were enlisted to deliver Hoop’s signature vocal arrangements. The result is a fruitful marriage of song craft and arrangement, brimming with a cinematic charm and lyrical wit that signify a new chapter full of new life for an artist who knows her mind, her heart and voice well enough to trust them in uncharted territory.

Harking back to her youth in California, Firestorm is a particularly personal examination of the effects of climate change. Jesca explains: “I have sat for hours at the great base of Colonel Armstrong, one of our oldest most esteemed redwoods, standing 308 feet tall and large enough at its base to drive car through. I feel the heart of the flaming redwood burning from inside out when I see my old trees devoured by the California wildfires. Trees that know my name.” There is love here, and also grief.

Also looking back to her childhood and drawing on the distance and insight that leaving the country of your birth behind can reveal, One Way Mirror draws parallels between the polarization and radicalisation that makes up so much of American, and indeed global politics. Jes explains, with her inimitable turn of phrase “Warmed by the gaslight, I thought back to my childhood, what it was to be indoctrinated into cult mentality and what it took to get out and what it is taking to avoid falling into another…”

Order of Romance is perhaps ultimately an exploration of the endless balance act of being a ‘Human Being’, an approach and examination of some of the biggest theme and issues of our time through the doorway of the personal, a way finding meaning and some kind of faith in a world where so much is disconnected and discordant. As she states “I seek out reflection and resolve in my songs. I find out who I am in a sense. For a few minutes, I can exist in nature at my full potential, saying just what I mean, in balance, in awe, in wonder and in full force. As a moral agent, a mode I can’t seem to avoid, my writing is time taken to observe and ask questions. I find humour in our predicament. I find danger in the reckoning. I find faith despite our sorry state and I feel connection when I draw it through my voice. I stand my ground and through the music and point inevitably towards compassion”.

Order of Romance by Jessica Hoop HERE


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