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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Hooverphonic -- The Magnificent Tree

 photo Hooverphonic-The_Magnificent_Tree_zpsbd743f90.jpg
8/10

Hooverphonic shift their sound from the direction of really cool to really freaky. I don't mean like funky-freaky, I mean like when I wave my hand in front of my face, it's trailing colors-freaky. The opening song starts with a sample of what sounds like an aged Hank Hill repeating the phrase, "Dr. Walter Doodah is a nationally known doctor of music, and has taught many teachers and boys and girls how to play the authoharp,"-freaky (Comma,quotation"dash-freaky). And then the singer says in a very alluring voice, "You are my autoharp. I push every button on your body,"-freaky. I mean, they still sound pretty cool, but more than anything, they sound really weird. I can dig it.
The Magnificent Tree features strings on the more "Hooverphonic" sounding songs, as well as the electronic beats and big bass the band are known for. "Out of Sight," and "Mad About You" could play on fancy car commercials just like the tracks from Blue Wonder Power Milk.
Outside of that, though, even the ethereal title track is freaky. The acoustic guitar, flute samples, and Geike Arnaert's vocals are gorgeous.

Check the lyrics, though:
Bought this guitar
At a shop called mars
But on the way back home
Strange things happened in my car
Started to play
All by itself
Creatures jumped from
The highest shelf
Until I touched string
This magnificent tree
Appeared in my mind
Even without leaves
Its strength was divine
Synthesized gnomes
Penetrated this godly zone
Summer was thrown off
Its royal throne
This magnificent tree
Appeared in my mind
Even without leaves
Its strength was divine

Yes. Synthesized Gnomes. I guess the song does sample Crosby, Stills, and Nash. When I shake my head really fast, I can see glitter.
Most of the other tracks don't really hide their intentions. "Frosted Flake Wood" features scary talking mushrooms (Geike with some really freaky filters on her voice) and Big Bird, and "Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs" is called "Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs." The whole thing comes together to form some weird trippy carnival, and hey that's awesome. The Magnificent Tree might not be nearly as cool as its predecessor, but it is a psychedelic mini-masterpiece. Who doesn't like synthesized gnomes and scary talking mushrooms who promise you'll be the "leader of the band" if you would just go ahead and eat them already? Go ahead, eat them. Eat them! Eat them, what's wrong with you!?!

2000 Epic
1. Autoharp 4:21
2. Mad About You 3:43
3. Waves 4:01
4. Jackie Cane 4:20
5. The Magnificent Tree 3:55
6. Vinegar & Salt 3:20
7. Frosted Flake Wood 3:17
8. Everytime We Live Together We Die A Bit More 3:35
9. Out Of Sight 3:55
10. Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs 3:50
11. L'odeur Animale 3:47
12. Renaissance Affair (Bonus Track) 3:25

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