Folk music may be seen as a quaint, antiquated art form, but as California singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop illustrates on her fifth album, it remains a vital, highly malleable platform for speaking to our current condition. Produced by PJ Harvey accomplice John Parish, Stonechild thrives on the tension between its deceptively delicate songcraft and edgy execution, as Hoop presents unflinching portraits of mothers dutifully reinforcing patriarchal power structures (“Old Fear of Father”) and teens engaging in technology-mediated courtship (“Outside of Eden”) atop a bed of pastoral finger-picking and haunting, ethereal atmosphere. But while it fearlessly wades into heavy subject matter, Hoop’s fanciful delivery, eccentric arrangements, and bewitching way with melody give Stonechild an irresistible allure: “Shoulder Charge” blindsides you with luminous chorus harmonies courtesy of Lucius, while the eerily enchanting “Death Row” climaxes with a hand-clapped hook tailor-made for a game of Double Dutch.

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