Hopewell – Beautiful Targets (Tee Pee Records)

After impressing with two consecutive releases (the Notbirds EP, and The Birds Of Appetite), Hopewell have hit a snag in the road with Beautiful Targets. Where they once soared close to the heights of similar-minded groups The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev (where Hopewell singer Jason Russo once played keyboards), Beautiful Targets is weighed down by over-stuffed arrangements and off-key vocal yelps. The decision not to bring old producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Low, Wheat..etc) back behind the boards is a fatal one because the band sounds lifeless in the hands of new producer Bill Racine, with the exception of the orchestrations, which are so over the top on “Trees” and “Windy Day” that you might wonder if you’ve accidentally pressed play on Oasis’ Be Here Now. The only song that retains the old magic is “Monolith” and even there, you wonder what it would have sounded like with better production.
1 In Full Bloom
2 All Angels Road
3 Bethlehem
4 Tree
5 Windy Day (Giant Dancers)
6 Monolith
7 Over & Over
8 Echo & His Brother
9 Afterglow
10 Are You Anywhere?
11 To the Slaughter…

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