The Magnificent Tree


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.

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