Hooverphonic

Hooverphonic

The Magnificent Tree

Epic

Every time a Hooverphonic record filters through my speakers, I have no option but to surrender to their grand atmospherics and sensual melodies. Quite settled into their own musical galaxy, the trio — including chief songwriter Alex Callier and vocal vixen Geike Arnaert — has returned, thank your shooting stars, with their third and perhaps most accessible record to date, The Magnificent Tree. Case in point: The album’s leadoff single “Mad About You,” which includes the now-trademark string arrangement accompanied by the intoxicating vocal delivery of Arnaert, sees the band creating their most straight-ahead tune to date, but still abiding by their heavenly song structures.

There once was a time when another vocalist’s breath drew on the microphone, but for the last three years, Arnaert has effortlessly assimilated herself into the spotlight with a vocal range rarely matched in music today. Take the torch-song woes expressed on “Vinegar & Salt” and you won’t have reason to doubt me. Although there is a surprising lack of any real uptempo numbers, it shows that Hooverphonic aren’t afraid to take those baby steps away from previous sounds and flirt with a little more melancholy than in the past. The Magnificent Tree is subtle, wondrous, and should be Hooverphonic’s graceful entrance into the progressive music pantheon.

Epic, 550 Madison, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10022-3211

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