Itchy and curious, “The Lost Sky” grabs my ear in a “where is this going?” kind of way, as the song’s opening verses unfold over minimal, agitated acoustic guitar work and a precise, intermittent bass line. But as the song proceeds I slowly get the idea that where the song is going is where it already is: the ear has to adjust to its edgy open-endedness, its determined lack of solid ground. Symbolic of its restless core is what happens at the end of the (not very chorus-like) chorus (1:23-1:26). Listen first to how the melody has slowed down and seems at last to move towards resolution; and then, nope, it turns out that the note the ear is waiting for (1:23-1:26) is not an ending but a beginning: the resolving note starts the next verse and off we go again.
Other things begin to anchor me as I listen, starting first and foremost with Hoop’s harmonies, which kick in at 1:12 on the song’s incisive question “Why would you say those words to me if you could not follow through?” The narrator is a brokenhearted lover, and as the song plucks along my heart warms with the understanding that it only ever takes a talented songwriter to render the familiar unfamiliar. Here we get propulsive but diligent music, evocative lyrics, and then, yes, those increasingly startling and satisfying harmonies (where she takes it at 2:31 caused me just about to gasp), and there I am, embraced yet again, with gratitude, by the potency of song. It’s a nice place to be right about now.
Born in California, singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop moved to Manchester (UK) in 2010. “The Lost Sky” is from her forthcoming album, Memories Are Now, coming out in February on Sub Pop Records. Here is someone who apparently cycles through Fingertips in five-year loops; Hoop was previously featured in 2007 and 2012.
MP3 via Colorado Public Radio.