Hopewell – Beautiful Targets (Tee Pee Records)

After impressing with two consecutive releases (the Notbirds EP, and The Birds Of Appetite), Hopewell 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. Losing old producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Low, Wheat..etc) behind the boards is a big loss, because the band sounds lifeless in the hands of new producer Bill Racine. Plus there’s 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 could 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…