Whether it was just a conscious choice or simply because they forgot to pay the electric bill, Hoven Droven, the masters of Swedish heavy folk, have unplugged for Hippa. For a band whose reputation has largely relied on their very loud electric vision of folk music, it's a daring move and one that pays off in parts. Their playing is subtle, especially that of fiddler Kjell-Erik Eriksson and saxophonist Jens Comen. While much of the music is made up of original compositions (including closer "The Cube," which features the wondrous Hoven Droven Mens' Choir singing alongside Kaxen the rooster), some of it also comes from a theatrical production they scored. And then there are the dedications: "Dreaming of Arto" is for Arto Järavelä of Finland's JPP and "Gudrun's Waltz" is for "the best granny in the world." Excellent sentiments and beautiful playing, with former members Janne Strömstedt and Gustav Hylen both returning as guests, but at times the restraint seems very self- conscious, and there's often the feeling that the band is itching to crank up the amps. All in all, this is an album (which comes enhanced with three videos and seven mp3 tracks for those who play it on a computer) that's more an amusing diversion than real progression for the band.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson