The Pacific Northwest remains a fertile landscape for musicians if the work of Hoop is anything to go by.
Set to release their debut album Super Genuine later this month, Seattle's Hoop (bandleader Caitlin Roberts plus Leena Joshi, Pamela Santiago and Inge Chiles) make disarming and honest pop music. "Baseboards" is their latest song.
Featuring Jagjaguwar's Briana Marela, the track is featherlight, powered initially by a swirling two-note organ riff and Roberts' high, slightly off-key harmonies. Marela contributes beautiful vocals to the bridge and to a staggering, emotional outro accompanied by a gentle twang of guitar.
"Baseboards" cuts like a knife; "I'm not trying to break you / I'm trying to break away" might be something of a generic line about relationships, but when Roberts follows it up with "with my bare back on the baseboards / feeling gullible / and vulnerable" it's such an emotive description of powerlessness and loss, a picture painted of a couple where one half is left completely in isolation through an abuse of (verbal or physical) control. Marela's outro of "you hold me / in a way that / pushes me / away" only serves to highlight the darkness. It's a stunning song, beautiful and unsettling.