Hooverphonic

A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular

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The Belgian trio Hooverphonic haphazardly tinkers around with ambient pop on its debut album, A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular. Overall, it's a decent derivation of post-grunge and a healthy sampling of rising trip-hop and ambient electronica during the mid-'90s, so perhaps it's all right for the album itself to experience floppy production. Lead singer Liesje Sadonius is sultry while defining Hooverphonic's signature shoegazer-like vocalics, with almost impressive electronic support from guitarists Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts and keyboardist Frank DuchĂȘne. Debut single "2 Wicky" struts with a mysterious bass drop, and it's Sadonius' sexy vocal charm that fully ties it all together. Other tracks such as "Inhaler" and "Revolver" are moody but danceable, whereas "Nr. 9" blasts with hazy My Bloody Valentine -like distortion. The orchestration is tangled, but the artistic purpose of such musical beauty defines Hooverphonic's initial concept. A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular depicts a glossy confidence, but not sheer enough for a fully enigmatic sound. But that's perfectly fine -- Hooverphonic characterizes its own grace with experimental soundscapes of melodic disarray, but just barely.

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