Kristian Hoffman

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Though you may not have heard of Kristian Hoffman, a lot of people in the music industry have, and with this release Hoffman has tugged on a few of his connections to reel in a veritable cornucopia of guest stars for this album of duets -- thus the title, &. The proceedings are varied: both sweet and sad (such as "Get It Right This Time with that dog.'s Anna Waronker and the track "Scarecrow" with Rufus Wainwright), upbeat ("Devil in My Care" with Russell Mael of Sparks matching Hoffman note for falsetto note), beautiful (the track "Revert to Type" features gorgeous string arrangements from industry legend Van Dyke Parks), and camp (...well, pretty much everything on the album, but the surf-tinged "Madison Avenue" with El Vez and the guest appearance from Pee Wee Herman...er, make that Paul Reubens...probably fit the bill best). That's not even mentioning great team-ups with the Three O'Clock's Michael Quercio, Maria McKee of Lone Justice, Lydia Lunch, or Ann Magnuson. From start to finish, it's a tour de force of classic pop songcraft matched up with inspired collaborators. Right at the beginning of the album, Hoffman claims that he's "...gonna put the 'ooo' in the human condition," and there's certainly a good share of ooos, aaahs, and even eees on &. This is definitely one of the nicest surprises of 2002.

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