Hypatia Lake

...and We Shall Call Him Joseph

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Like on the band's first album, Hypatia Lake on ...and We Shall Call Him Joseph takes a conceptual route, this time focusing in on a figure out to destroy the candy factory in his hometown that was the cause of numerous family tragedies. A couple of Pink Floyd-plod moments aside it's not The Wall (and everyone should be grateful), but thankfully Hypatia Lake knows a key rule when it comes to anything vaguely approaching a rock opera -- if it doesn't sound good, there's no reason to listen in further, and quite happily this sophomore effort sounds great. There's a heck of a lot of shoegaze bliss throughout ...and We Shall Call Him Joseph, but specifically in a slightly more American vein like, say, Bethany Curve or the Autumns -- just a touch more willing to bring up clarity for the sake of sinking the hooks in more deeply (the overt nods to the extreme tremolo approach of Kevin Shields, as can be heard on songs like "Bridgett Fountainhead"). Another logical enough comparison point would be the widescreen epics of the Flaming Lips circa The Soft Bulletin and after, though with enough messy-as-hell guitar (check the sheer abuse going on in "Joseph and the Divine Intervention") to call to mind their earlier years. It might not have been surprising had Dave Fridmann produced, but Zack Reinig and Dave Hills once again do the honors here, and the way that the songs can almost turn on a dime from stark guitar/vocal-only affairs to huge flowing-through-the-universe-stoned-out-of-our-minds arrangements are to everyone's collective credit. At a certain point the framing device of the whole thing becomes utterly secondary unless reading along with the song titles is desired (and the bit about sitting around with one's guitar and wondering if it's worth it all is perhaps a touch too coy), but ...and We Shall Call Him Joseph sounds big, enjoyable, and melancholy, and does all three pretty well.

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