Who would’ve thought that Hooverphonic‘s still got it, 17 years plus into their career? I thought Geike’s departure marked the end of the Belgian band, but I was surprised at how easily the new vocalist Noemi fits into the band and holds the fort admirably. It seems they did well with some young blood, as their last album “The Night Before” was certainly one of their strongest efforts. On the strength of that album’s success, Hooverphonic just released “Hooverphonic With Orchestra”, with re-workings of old and new songs since the beginning. I always have a soft spot for well-crafted orchestral pop music, and the album made a lovely listen indeed. The string arrangements were wonderfully grandeur, especially on “George’s Cafe” and the lush new version of “Mad About You”. They even breathed new life into what was one of my least favorite singles, “Expedition Impossible”. Beside a new track “Happiness”, the album also contains a fantastic stripped-down cover of Massive Attack‘s classic “Unfinished Sympathy”, which you can check out below. I highly recommend this album if you’re not quite familiar with the band’s catalogue, or in need of a soundtrack for spring evenings.
You can stream their recent liveset for Studio Brussel in full length on Soundcloud.
The future of Hooverphonic seemed uncertain when their lead singer, Geike Arnaert, left the band in 2008. I thought the Belgian band would have just thrown in the towel, but they moved along with a new, younger vocalist, Noémie Wolfs, and released their seventh album, “The Night Before”, late last year. I heard the title track/lead single, thought it was quite nice, but it didn’t fully compel me. Noémie is a good singer, and it’s unfair to compare her with Geike. However, their new single, “Anger Never Dies”, is probably their best song in a while. It’s the James Bond theme that never was, with Morrissey-lite lyrics and a gorgeous string breakdown. Surprisingly, the album is actually a rich, cohesive listen of dramatic, sumptuously-arranged orchestral pop. It is a great mood album for an evening if you’re into that sound. While not exactly new territory for them, it certainly is much better than their last one with Geike. Thanks to the new blood, it looks like they still have life in them yet. Listen to the track, watch the video, and hear their cover of White Lies’ “Bigger Than Us”, done for a radio show. They turned White Lies’ illusions of grandeur into a lovely ballad.
See Noémie in motion, and stream the entire album after the jump.