By Anthony Servante
HOOVERPHONIC with Orchestra (2012) PID
Hooverphonic has been around since 1995. Originally from Belgium, the band consists of new singer Noemie Wolfs (who replaced Geike Armaert), Raymond Geerts, and original member Alex Caller. As the title reveals, the latest line-up of Hooverphonic (called Hoover in Europe) is joined by a 435 piece orchestra. The entertaining new CD includes a new song, HAPPINESS (2012) in addition to ethereal noir versions of their hits through the years: [1. Happiness] 2. One Two Three 3. The Night Before 4. Heartbroken 5. The Last Thing I Need is You 6. 2Wicky 7. Anger Never Dies 8. Unfinished Sympathy 9. Expedition Impossible 10. George’s Café 11. Jackie Cane 12. Mad About You 13. Sometimes 14. Vinegar & Salt 15. Eden 16. Renaissance Affair 17. Danger Zone. Fans who have followed the band from their Trip Hop beginnings to their experimental periods with Psych Rock and Pop may be a bit befuddled by the Middle of the Road approach to the older songs. Imagine a smoky bar in the late 50s with a bluesy techno playing in the background. This is not a criticism, just an observation. The new sound may indicate the new direction for the band befitting the new singer’s throaty vocal style and it works most of the time, but on songs like Vinegar & Salt, it falls short. We’ll have to wait and hear the nouveau music without the orchestra to see what direction the new line-up will take with this new sound, but for now, hardcore fans should be satisfied with the new CD; new fans might want to start with Hooverphonic’s first CD and work their way up.
SNOW PATROL (2012) Fallen Empires: Deluxe Edition. Universal Music Group
I first started listening to the Techno Rock band Snow Patrol when their CD Final Straw was released in 2003. The song Somewhere a Clock is Ticking defined the new Millenium sound for me. I worked my way backward to the band’s earlier LPs and forward to their latest works and have always found consistency in their musical development. I could always count on melodic rock with heavy synth back beats. The new CD is no exception. Formed in 1994 in Scotland, the band has carried 80s New Wave to the Neo Wave of today. Snow Patrol consists of Gary Lightbody, lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Nathan Connolly, lead guitar, backing vocals, Paul Wilson, bass guitar, backing vocals, Jonny Quinn, drums, percussion, Tom Simpson, keyboards, and Johnny McDaid, Piano, rhythm guitar, backing vocals. New York is the outstanding track on this new CD from the excellent talent who hasn’t let me down after seven LPs.