The Woodentops

Hypno Beat Live

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This release catches the group in a live performance at Los Angeles' Palace Theatre in November 1986. Most of the material given here consists of tracks from the album Giant and some early singles. Recording quality is good, though the group's on-stage sound mix is rather opaque, obscuring some of the band's subtle touches; backing vocals, keyboards, and acoustic guitars in particular tend to get swallowed up on this recording at times. Many of the songs are given at an unbelievable breakneck speed, even faster than on corresponding studio releases. On rare occasions, such mania results in garbled lead vocals or finger-tied keyboard playing, but by and large, the sheer visceral sweep of these performances proves to be bracing. Most interesting here is the arrangement of "Everyday Living"; this buoyantly frothy album track from Giant, when performed at a faster tempo and without violin, becomes a surprisingly primitive and driven number. This platter is an intriguing listen, recommended especially to fans of this unusual band.

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