Why Hooverphonic aren't huge on British shores still baffles me. "No More Sweet Music" is truly a return to top form from their first mesmerising works on " A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular" and "Blue Wonder Power Milk". This is an album jam packed with beautiful lush chilled out tunes that Hooverphonic manage to do so well. If you want beach music with wishy-washy strings aplenty and drifting melodies then this is for you.
The opener, "You Love Me To Death" drags you in like the waves on a beach with its harpsichords and swirling synth strings. It catches you with a fishhook for the rest of the album. "We All Float" does exactly what it says in the title. Get in your floatation tank with this one playing and you'll be up in the stars in no time. "You Hurt Me" ups the tempo slightly with attitude aplenty. Slap your face! Then we have the Dimitri From Paris sampling of the title tracks "No More Sweet Music". Sampling such a classic chill out tune and then adding lyrics you might think would be a bit cheeky but it really works here and is definitely the albums highlight. Really beautiful. "Dirty Lenses" with its Keane like piano rift is probably the most commercial track on the album but is really luscious. "Wake Up" desperately surges, surges and then surges some more until you tip off the end. "Ginger" wraps it up nicely again with strings soaring you off in to the ether.
But then wait, just as you head for the replay button we have Disc 2 which does the whole thing all over again, remixed by Alex Callier, in a whole new stylee. I don't know of another whole album being remixed in another style and packaged together so that you can play the experience twice and get another gist on all of the songs. It works so well though taking you off in to other territories, which you might have imagined while listening to CD 1 yourself. The Arabic male chanting on "You Love Me To Death" and again on "We All Float" flies you off on that magic carpet through the sky over the dunes!! "You Hurt Me" gets real sassed up and ends up perfect strippers music! "Dirty Lenses" gets danced up and is the only track heading for the beach dance floor. We get "Heartbeat" gently vocodered in to a spacey, sublime, nodding mood. Nice. "Ginger" again finishes it off with a Sly & Robbie touch and some sexy male French vocals.
A great idea to have the same album twice. Makes the whole experience double the pleasure. And listening to these two CD's is truly absolute pleasure. Hooverphonic can sweep me up any time!!!
I first heard this band on the eclectic Internet station Radio Paradise, and was absolutely bowled over from the start by the opening track of this album, "You love me to death", which is just pure heart-wrenching thanatos. The rest of the album doesn't disappoint, with lush, 'big' instrumentals wonderfully complementing the singer's powerful, emotionally complex voice. It's really quite an experience, and a distinctive sound - there are faint echoes of Portishead in Gaike Arneart's voice, in its emotional intensity and vocal range, but she really is her own woman. The instrumentals fill up a room even at low volume, and have a complexity and lush depth that lifts the heart, with influences from electronica, hip-hop, Arabic music, classical music (one of the tracks has an orchestra), and more. This band was a revelation to my jaded palate, and is the best thing to come out of Belgium since its beer. As the previous reviewer lamented, you'll not hear them in the UK, maybe because they are too distinctive, thoughtful and cultured. Plus you get an extra CD with tasty remixes which add new dimensions to the original songs, though I prefer the main CD. Quite a stunning band.