Church of Betty

Revenge of the Hippies

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The eighth album by New York's Church of Betty downplays leader Chris Rael's obsession with Indian musical forms a bit in favor of a more overtly pop-oriented sound, continuing the trends of 2001's Tripping With Wanda. While artistic evolution is to be applauded in most cases, Revenge of the Hippies (one hopes the title is supposed to be ironic) gets rid of much of what made Church of Betty special in favor of -- well, not much. The title track and "Big Red Seahorse" in particular come dangerously close to the bland Trustafarian noodle-pop of the dreaded Dave Matthews Band, although the Lisa Germano-like woozy violin work in the title track comes close to saving it. With Rael putting aside his trusty sitar in favor of acoustic guitar on many tracks, along with the stripped-down, one-take production, Revenge of the Hippies sounds too much like too many other bands and not nearly enough like the unique and enjoyable Indian-fusion pop of Church of Betty's best albums.