UK singer songwriter Jacko Hooper has come a long way since emerging in his school days with The Rylics, a trio of school friends. It has been interesting and enjoyable watching his progress as a songwriter and musician over the years, the different twists and turns in his evolution which whilst not always fed personal tastes always left attention and appetite for his endeavours intrigued. For You is the brand new EP from Hooper, his first official solo release and an impressively potent and appetising proposition.
As mentioned the journey for Hooper started in his schooldays and even then he and the band were drawing strong attention especially when from the ashes of the first band, IAM:YOURHERO emerged. The band drew a keen and attentive following of fans and underground media exposure like from our own Audioburger Radio whilst at the same time Hooper was working on his own solo acoustic material. IAM:YOURHERO subsequently became Kai with the threesome continuing to draw praise and a greater following but you could also sense interest in the solo work of Hooper was gaining impetus. Recent years has seen that side take centre stage with Hooper to continued success, his music gaining YouTube views of over half a million and self-released CDRs in 500 runs being sold out in just six days. Inspired by the likes of Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver, Thomas Dybdahl, and Fink, his songwriting and folk teased sound has hit a plateau, with For You the clear evidence.
Funded through KickStarter and recorded with producer Paul Steel over the space of eight weeks, For You steals ears and thoughts within moments of its first song. Eggs Shells caresses ears from its first stroll of chords wrapped in an elegant melody. It is an immediate enticing which only grows its call with the incoming smooth tones of Hooper’s vocals, their mellow first embrace growing with the song to show the greater texture and power of his voice already realised in the rockier premises of his previous bands. The acoustic stroking of the song is a quality tempting but once the song opens up arms of strolling rhythms and bass shadows within the ever expressive design of guitar, it truly blossoms into a flame of emotive beauty. As the release, the song looks at love and fear and shows that whilst there has always been an intimacy to the music of Hooper which was in advance of his years, there is a real genuine maturity to his songwriting now.
The following November 5th Song also moves from a gentle coaxing into a firmer revelry of beats and vocal adventure amidst vibrant melodic enticing and atmospherically sown emotion. Also as its predecessor, the track grows and swells with poetic expression and a bulging bewitchment of melodic energy and passion spawned energy for an almost rigorous and wholly absorbing stomp of infectious invention. The earlier solo material of Hooper impressed but felt like it was still too deep in its growth and evolution to make a real mark at the time but the first two songs alone on For You show that the Brighton hailing Hooper has not only come to the end of that cycle to fulfil the potential seen vividly within him but opened up another wave of potential to be explored and realised ahead.
Run Away With Me is a guitar and vocal croon which comes drenched in intimacy and shadows, the occasional growl and constant angst of Hooper’s vocals enough to expose the raw emotion of the song. It does not match the might of the first two songs but then it is a different proposition with its open lean canvas beneath an emotive colouring. The closing live cut of Roaming is the same, guitar and vocal reflection at one in an evocatively lighted spotlight within scenery of crowding shadows. It is a fine song but one which may not stand out as strongly in the hands of another, the bluesy scent which soaks Hopper’s delivery bringing it character and irresistible body.
Despite the success earned and found previously, this feels like the point where Jacko Hooper has arrived and is about to trigger the real ascent of his emerging career.
The For You EP is available now via One Inch Badge on Ltd Edition 7″ vinyl and digitally @ http://jackohooper.bandcamp.com/album/for-you
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