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We Haven't Just Been Told, We Have Been Loved CD

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Price: £20.93 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Oct. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Asthmatic Kitty Records
  • ASIN: B00006JODW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,592 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Mar. 2006
Format: Audio CD
In the loosest sense, Half-Handed Cloud is Christian music.
No, not generic pop-rock that tells you to love Jesus or else. Instead, "We Haven't Just Been Told, We've Been Loved" lives up to its title -- it's charming, joyous, energetic music that is equal parts psychedelica and circus folk. And yes, those twee little songs are centered on the Bible.
The songs are also very short -- the longest is less than three minutes long, and the shortest is only twenty-six seconds long. But from the start, it's a charming experience: John Ringhofer sings cheerily over a clashing piano-pop melody and the odd burst of kazoo. "Not because you were exhausted/but because of the perfected/finished work of your creation..."
But if you listen carefully, you'll hear a bit of a spiritual odyssey woven into the album -- Ringhofer describes his own past problems and arrogance, and adds quizzically, "I am humiliated/and I am ashamed/disgrace, dishonor/it makes me wonder why you keep on waiting."
Not all the songs are so personal -- some of them are just cheery, optimistic little pop songs about the Biblical Samuel, absentmindedly sowing seeds, kings and princes, and needing new pairs of glasses. The final song has the weirdest lyrics -- "I was balding like a berry/but my knees were always hairy..." Hello, oddball songwriting! It's not Ringhofer's most charming, nor his most imaginative, but it's weird and cheery enough to be enchanting.
As the labelmate to Sufjan Stevens, Ringhofer has actually done something difficult -- he's created religious pop that isn't going to make the non-religious run for the hills.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x89755564) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88ffdfa8) out of 5 stars We've been loved! 6 Mar. 2006
By EA Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the loosest sense, Half-Handed Cloud is Christian music.

No, not generic pop-rock that tells you to love Jesus or else. Instead, "We Haven't Just Been Told, We've Been Loved" lives up to its title -- it's charming, joyous, energetic music that is equal parts psychedelica and circus folk. And yes, those twee little songs are centered on the Bible.

The songs are also very short -- the longest is less than three minutes long, and the shortest is only twenty-six seconds long. But from the start, it's a charming experience: John Ringhofer sings cheerily over a clashing piano-pop melody and the odd burst of kazoo. "Not because you were exhausted/but because of the perfected/finished work of your creation..."

But if you listen carefully, you'll hear a bit of a spiritual odyssey woven into the album -- Ringhofer describes his own past problems and arrogance, and adds quizzically, "I am humiliated/and I am ashamed/disgrace, dishonor/it makes me wonder why you keep on waiting."

Not all the songs are so personal -- some of them are just cheery, optimistic little pop songs about the Biblical Samuel, absentmindedly sowing seeds, kings and princes, and needing new pairs of glasses. The final song has the weirdest lyrics -- "I was balding like a berry/but my knees were always hairy..." Hello, oddball songwriting! It's not Ringhofer's most charming, nor his most imaginative, but it's weird and cheery enough to be enchanting.

As the labelmate to Sufjan Stevens, Ringhofer has actually done something difficult -- he's created religious pop that isn't going to make the non-religious run for the hills. Instead, it's just warm, cuddly music that happens to have religious lyrics, with no preaching and more reflections on being loved and loving.

Vocally, Ringhofer is a dead ringer for Wayne Coyne -- he's got that off-key thing down. And it works very well with his music, which tends to be either acoustic guitar or some very fast piano; he also adds a carnival sound with xylophones, kazoos, and the odd cash register sound. And, of course, bursts of horns and the odd bit of echo effect.

Half-Handed Cloud is in their second-best shape here, with an unusual concept album wrapped up in weird pop melodies. Why can't there be more music like this album?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88fff210) out of 5 stars Brilliant, eclectic music 26 Sept. 2004
By Phesto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
On the second listen of this album, I fell in love with it. Overflowing with a wide variety of vocal and instumental melodies, it's like someone took the best minutiae from a thousand pop, folk, and Christian songs and compressed them into one record. If you're someone who dislikes musical repetition, then you certainly shouldn't miss this: feel-good music that's bursting at the seams with creativity and imagination. I also find it to be subtly humorous in spots; how else can you describe an artist imporing you at the start of a song to "Please listen", immediately following this with some playful kazoo-ing. Very highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88fff450) out of 5 stars Precocious child draws map of the Faith... in crayon. 20 Aug. 2003
By Joshua Neds-Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Actually, this is very adult music-- think Brian Wilson meets Daniel Johnson-- made by one John Ringhofer, a man with a particular vision and a singular (read: childlike) voice. But he approaches his music like a child, and like a child his imagination and energy abound in both music and lyrics. Half-Handed Cloud's approach to songwriting-- whimsical and weighty at the same time, and above all brief-- is jarring at first, and his eclectic instrumentation amplifies the apparent eccentricity. But a close listen to this album reveals it to be a towering accomplishment, inventive and layered. And for Christians: know that this is a re-introduction to the Lord by a musician who knows how to communicate his childlike faith-- that is, his music will make you wide-eyed and innocent again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88fff7b0) out of 5 stars Like a precocious child mapping the Faith in crayon 20 Aug. 2003
By J. Neds-Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Actually, this is very adult music-- think Brian Wilson meets Daniel Johnson-- made by one John Ringhofer, a man with a particular vision and a singular (read: childlike) voice. But he approaches his music like a child, and like a child his imagination and energy abound in both music and lyrics. Half-Handed Cloud's approach to songwriting-- whimsical and weighty at the same time, and above all brief-- is jarring at first, and his eclectic instrumentation amplifies the apparent eccentricity. But a close listen to this album reveals it to be a towering accomplishment, inventive and layered. And for Christians: know that this is a re-introduction to the Lord by a musician who knows how to communicate his childlike faith-- that is, his music will make you wide-eyed and innocent again.
HASH(0x88fff9cc) out of 5 stars The little album that might. 8 Jun. 2007
By Mister Charlie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Twee little pop experiments abound on this short (33 minute) album by Half-Handed Cloud. Even if they deal with Christian themes, it's dangerous to call this "Christian Music"... certainly your average Amy Grant fan might be a bit slack-jawed listening to this, while the average indie-rock fan will find it familiar.... it sounds like the fragmentary songsmithery of early Guided by Voices meets the wide-eyed early Of Montreal pastoral pop psychadelia. It's sort of a low-fi, small-sounding music, the singer sounds a bit like a six-inches-tall version of the singer from Elf Power. No disrespect meant. In its own way, this little album RULES.
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