Doug Hoekstra


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Doug Hoekstra has built his reputation as a literate singer-songwriter. His deep whisper of a voice recalls Lou Reed, and the minimal electric arrangements of Waiting are reminiscent of the Velvet Underground circa 1968. Songs like "Theresa" project a dark world where five-year-old girls stand as lookouts for inner-city gangs and twelve-year-old girls sell their babies on the black market. The material works best when Hoekstra fills out the arrangements with vocalists Amy White on "Dark Side of a Pearl" and George Marinelli on "Screwball Comedy." The latter tune has a particularly interesting mix, with Hoekstra's vocals panned to the right track and Marinelli's to the left. From a lyrical point of view, there is much to ponder on songs like "Blow Beautiful Dreams" and "Sunday Blues." Impressionistic lyrics like "She's stopped by her reflection/Checks out her makeup and her hair/And the glass shines in all directions/She's looking for something that's already there" capture a mood while avoiding the obvious singer-songwriter clich├ęs. From a musical point of view, however, Waiting has less to offer. While the arrangements aren't bare-bones, the somber organ and electric guitar become a steady hum after several songs. The melodies, likewise, aren't strong enough to keep the material separated. Fans of Hoekstra's past work, however, will find much to like about Waiting. The album will also please listeners looking for a singer-songwriter who knows the difference between poetry and a journal entry.

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