Having made their debut with 1990's stunning Livonia album and forged a career of eccentric dream pop, His Name Is Alive branched out in the new millennium with 2001's Someday My Blues Will Cover The Earth, an album which, astoundingly, featured nothing but urban soul ballads, before appearing to go into deep hibernation after the release of their final 4AD album, 2002's Last Night.
In fact, Warn Defever and his cohorts had actually been busier than ever, delivering .mp3-only tracks, EPs and albums. However, the lack of any widely available new material seemed ominous for fans of the Michigan-based collective. Detrola, His Name Is Alive's first album for the aptly-named Reincarnate Music, lays to rest any concerns about the band's existence and is definitely worth the four-year wait.
Rather than tackle a single genre with the eleven tracks on offer, the recesses of Detrola contain hints of all HNIA's back catalogue. The folky torch song vocals of Lovetta Sharie Pippen immediately recall their second album, Home Is In Your Head, while much of the late-night electronica hints at the more up tempo moments of Last Night.
So, within this potpourri, HNIA treat us to Introduction, a traditional spiritual dirge, some New Order-inspired instrumentation on In My Dream, a galloping Vaudeville sing-along (Get Your Curse), Beach Boys' melodies (You Need A Heart), some free jazz saxophone runs (Seven Minutes) and the electro hypnosis of *C*A*T*S*.
As Send My Face sends the album to a bittersweet conclusion, we are left to ponder that the four year gestation might have been required for HNIA to so expertly learn each of the genres they succeed in attempting on this new album. Bewilderingly eclectic Detrola may be, but it's no less enjoyable for it.