Kristian Hoffman


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Kristian Hoffman might be most known for his stint in the Mumps and writing material for Klaus Nomi, but his solo recordings have turned out rather more pop-oriented than some listeners might have expected from his résumé. Fop is very much a pop/rock album, in the good and slightly arty sense, for the most part. With his high voice, stately melodic compositions, and at times, lush, classically influenced arrangements, he can't fail to often recall Brian Wilson, and at times guys with lower profiles who've been influenced by Wilson, like Eric Carmen, and (much more distantly and infrequently) Elvis Costello. It's pretty hard to match Brian Wilson, of course, and since that sensibility is nonetheless pretty unavoidable on this collection, that does mean it tends to be something for committed enthusiasts of this style, rather than something groundbreaking. It can also be a bit too sweet, and, at 74 minutes, too much at once for the less-than-fully committed. There's no denying, however, the attractiveness of the surface, especially in the production (sometimes orchestral in an unforced way not often heard in releases from the early 2010s) and the singing. Hoffman tends to be at his best on the more serious and slower songs, like the opener "Something New Is Born," than the ones that rock harder in a power pop kind of way. The music hall accents of "Imaginary Friend" and "Little Brother" add variety, but not much quality, while "Hey Little Jesus Get Out of That Hole" supplies some welcome religious irreverence, and is the most convincing, relatively hard rocker.

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