on 25 November 2011
Given the range of Customer Reviews for Hooverphonic's latest that have been posted to Amazon.com stateside since being released a year ago it's surprising that there hasn't been a single posting to Amazon.co.uk - especially given the band's estimable fanbase. This apparent apathy can't be because 'The Night Before' is no good; indeed, it's a superb return to form following the lugubrious indulgencies of 'The President of the LSD Golf Club'. Hooverphonic's trademark baselines and sweeping string-synths are astutely deployed. The songwriting is assured and contained, and several tracks are very catchy indeed: 'Anger Never Dies', for instance, stands comparison with any recent Bond theme you've heard. Lyrically, the album's a tad lighter and (arguably) poppier, but this works well to offset the richness of Hooverphonic's melodies.
On a more critical note, where 'The Night Before' slightly unsatisfies is in its sparse solo instrumentation - I kept feeling that some of the tracks needed a bit of extra musicality - an inventive guitar lick here, some tuneful keyboards there - to ornament the arrangements. Another caveat is its length (cue Grumpy Old Man mode): when will contemporary pop/rock artistes realise that CDs allow for over 60 minutes of content, and that realising a 12-track album that runs to way less than that is rather short-changing the punters? Given that most other genres now customarily include 70+ minutes of playing time, surely a few extra tracks, B-sides, interview tracks, could fill-out.
I listened to `The Night Before' without knowing that Geike Arnaert had been replaced new lead vocialist Noémie Wolfs, so in that respect the succession has been flawless, although many other Hooverphonic purists may beg to differ.
Get a taster of what's in store by checking out 'The Night Before' singles' videos on YouTube - search for 'Anger Never Dies', 'One, Two,Three', and the song of the same name, 'The Night Before'. All excellent stuff - highly recommended. Hooverphonic fans: buy. New to Hooverphonic? Buy as about the best introduction to the band's style and scope.
on 19 June 2014
Competent album from which four tracks made it onto my iPod, hence the rating. I think the title track is the best here, with a clever and affecting video on YouTube. At its best this is repeat-play pop with typical Hooverphonic trouble taken over orchestration and production, this set reminding me of the UK's Rialto (which had two full-drumkit drummers: there's a potential Pop Quiz question.)
I wonder if Hooverphonic will ever surpass its sublime 'Eden', but will happily explore all else they produce.
If I have one humble suggestion, it is to consult a native English speaker before finalising lyrics (as The Cardigans learned to do). Flattered as I am to be sung to by Belgians in English, idiom and scansion could easily be improved and do Hooverphonic's masterful musicianship greater justice.