Hooverphonic "a new stereophonic sound spectacular"
Grade
A
 
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Hooverphonic inhabits a similar music realm as the likes of Lamb, Portishead, Delerium and other techno-heavy acts that don't rely on dance beats to drive their songs. Instead, they dabble in various styles and musical themes to give each track it's own persona. Using dub, techno and even drum-and-bass mechanics, along with some finely demure vocals from Liesje Sadonius, any fan of the genre should be sure to love this album.

The opening song, Inhaler, slowly rolls in, featuring Raymond Geerts' guitars as a fine balance to the keyboards, samples and live drums. As the song moves along, it evolves into a casual techno track where a sample of the album's name is repeated over the slowly "dying" loop of the song's audio theme. 2Wicky, which samples Bacharach's Walk On By sets a nice casual tone with its sampled sax layered over the well-paced drum beat. This slower-paced track works great as a mood piece, something of which Hooverphonic seems to have expertise in.

Along with some finely crafted mood, Hooverphonic delves into ethnic themes, as hinted by the tribal-like samples that set the beat for Wardrope. With the inclusion of Spanish parlando by Charlotte Van de Perre on Cinderella, the song gets an otherworldly ethnic feel to it.

Barabas takes its time to get up to speed, but the balance of drums, pianos and sampled string arrangements makes it worth the time. Nr 9 stands out among the other tracks with its heavy use of live drums and rock-heavy guitars that make the track stick out amongst the more techno-heavy tracks. Someone is also quite unique in it's oddly folkish styling, not unlike something from Akira Yamaoka.

Probably one of my favorite aspects of this album as the excellent yet varied drum beats, which range from programmed drum machine beats by main songwriter Alex Callier to actual live drums from Eric Bosteels. Plus Profound hammers away as a well-paced beat that serves to set the pace for Sadonius' faster vocals. Sarangi opens with a thunderous beat that's only matched by the distorted bass that accompanies it. The final track, Innervoice, has a dramatic tone that builds as the song nears its end, setting a great final point to the album.

"a new stereophonic sound spectacular" has a great range of emotion and moods without being heavy-handed about it. Hooverphonic works with a variety of aspects to create a series of songs that aren't stuck in a rut when it comes to pacing and mood. Sadonius' vocals are sweet and charming and lay well over the excellently developed music. If you've been a fan of the genre or are even remotely interested, this album serves well to be a great listen.

- - Kinderfeld

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