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The Magnificent Tree [Enhanced, Import]

Hooverphonic Audio CD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 25.95
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

If you've been following the career of this Belgian trio, you've seen them go from trip-hop (on their debut, A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular) to trip-pop (1998's Blue Wonder Power Milk), pitting fan against fan in the process. One thing's for sure: The Magnificent Tree only adds wood to the fire. The "trip" has all but left the pop, leaving behind an assortment of solid, radio-friendly tunes, but hardly anything with the character and charm of their earlier work. It's too bad, really, because though there's some real ear candy here, it's lost in the crinkly wrapper of predictable arrangements and vapid lyrics. Geike Arnaert, given to ethereal coolness on Milk, chooses a more out-front, sultry vocal style on Tree, and while it works on the uncharacteristically rockin' "Jacky Cane" and the torchy "Vinegar & Salt," elsewhere ("Mad About You," "Everytime We Live Together," and the embarrassingly treacly "Out of Sight") it just rings false--too slick for its own good. Touches of the old style appear here and there, notably on the atmospheric, sample-infused "Autoharp" and the dreamy, Dubstar-like "Waves," but they promise more than the rest of the album can deliver. It may be a solid, sturdy Tree, but it's a few branches short of magnificence. --Steve Landau

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't overlook the great songs on it July 4 2003
Format:Audio CD
Yes, as an album TMT isn't as good as the other two. However, the more I listen to it, the more I get songs stuck in my head and the more I understand that it is brilliant. The problem is that it doesn't hold together as an album. The cohesion isn't there. But what is there is a handful of solid songs a few of which verge on brilliant. The poppiest of these is Mad About You, a James Bond theme if there was ever a film about Bond's first puppy love. A couple of songs later comes Jackie Cane, a strange anthem about a used up girl. Frosted Flake Wood is maligned by some and yes it does sound like the theme to some trip-hop version of H.R. Puffinstuf, but I like it a lot simply because it's unique. There aren't a lot of songs like this out there. Finally, there's Everytime We Live Together... This song keeps growing on me. I don't have anything to compare it to other than to say that the title sets the tone for the piece. It's angry -- or at least as angry as Hooverphonic gets -- and bitter -- once again, as bitter as Hooverphonic gets.
I gave this 5 stars because despite its awkwardness as an album it is still worlds above most of what's out there. I'll take it for all its flaws as Hooverphonic are brilliant even if this as a whole is their weakest effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable mess. May 1 2003
Format:Audio CD
This album has no style.
Normally albums tend to follow a style and almost all tracks follow each other nicely. Hooverphonic's other albums are no exception. A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular and Blue Wonder Power Milk contain more than the collective sum of their tracks. Even [Hooverphonic] Presents Jackie Cane has a unifying story and style that proclaims independence from their previous work.
However, The Magnificent Tree has no cohesive unity, as the album has its feet planted in different style territories. The tracks clash with each other. For instance, Frosted Flake Wood reminds me of a bizzare sock puppet play, while Jackie Cane has funkish retro charm. Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs makes you float into an ambient trance, but the next track l'Odeur Animale drags you through an eerie morgue of gloomy echoes. Clashes like these result in a lack of cooperation between songs.
However, each track taken individually reveals that Hooverphonic is growing up. From every drum beat to sound sample, their technique is becoming more sophisticated. They're expanding their abilities, and experimenting with new styles. Rather than commiting to a certain sound, it seems to me that they decided to just have fun and test their limits. The final product: An accomplished, albeit disorganized, indicator of Hooverphonic's broad range of musical skill and ability.
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Format:Audio CD
So I thought Id write a review of this album and possibly to defent it againt people like Shawn Delaney who is obviously into metal or something. Unlistenable dont make me laugh. This album is very well polished and well produced - in places perhaps over-produced. It lacks some of their early charm but thats what happens when bands mature. This album sees Hooverphonic reach maturity - obviously some fans cant handle this - personally I can. The Magnificent Tree was the first album i bought by the Hooverphonics. In places it is awesome :- Waves, Out Of sight and Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs, in places it is experimental:- Autoharp and Frosted Flake Wood plus Jackie Cane. In other places orchestral 'Mad about you' 'Vinegar and salt' - the abum is very varied - the first five songs are all really strong and the album goes down hill with vinegar and salt which is quite an abrasive song. Frosted Flake wood is daft and weird and the following track is weirder! The next two tracks out of sight and pink fluffy dinosaurs are superb- both reflective and melancholic
The ending is a real cop-out for which i will delete one star for. Its nothing compared to the majestic 'Magenta' on their last album. Dont listen to the one star and two star reviews most of those people dont like bands who mature. Bands who are great keep changing and evolve. Hooverphonic do.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Grande Disappointment Dec 6 2001
Format:Audio CD
I felt a twinge of concern upon first hearing the song "Mad About You." I very much wanted to enjoy it, but couldn't shake the uneasy vibes it relayed to me via invisible airwaves. I thought, "If only they had used real drums with a jazzy slant instead of those faux synth sounds... or had gone beyond synth to pure Casioland." Alas, this is as it is. This foreshadowed things to come.
"Mad About You" is easily the most enchanting track on the album. Oh, one may glean certain nicities from the dust of other tracks... but you must stop persuading yourself that a beautiful star has not fallen from the heavens to land in a velvet clad refuse dump.
One might only peruse the lyrics of the title track to feel their cheeks redden in embarrasment. Hooverphonic's previous two releases are exceptional. Some of the tracks remain among my favourite. If you do not own any of this artist's albums, please purchase the first two, and pretend this one does not exist. Sometimes when you encounter a bad apple such as this, it may mar the taste of the bushel, nudge nudge wink wink.
Meorw.
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1.0 out of 5 stars No. May 28 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Pure trash. Why does Mr. Doodle play the autoharp? I don't care. And why are we told he plays the autoharp during what would otherwise be a semi-decent Hooverphonic song? Probably to make a meager attempt to sound something like earlier successes of simular components such as "Magenta". For those of you out there who are at a loss to understand how the hell a group with such stunning potential fell completely flat on its face with this new release, I have a theory--here goes:
A while back while still in anticipation of TMT (ha) I read an interview with the group. The only detail of the interview that stuck was that they were really proud of the songs they wrote. They even boasted that if the power went out during one of their concerts, they could keep going w/an acoustic guitar and Geike's vocals and be ok.
While that statement is highly questionable, it gives a telling look at the groups sentiment and direction they were moving in; more straighforeward tunes. Unfortunatly, I think that this new release has demonstrated that Hoover's tunes are NOT what makes the group strong. With the ambience of the earlier two recordings fully taking the backseat to incredibly innocuous vocals, mixing arrangements that could be found in mainstream garbage and compltely unsubltle lyrics, the group has suppressed everything in their identity which makes them great and championed the characteristics which they share with the most asenine of genres: sugar-pop.
"BlueWonderPowerMilk" has often been characterized as a "bridge album" between ANSSS and TMT but it is not so much a bridge as a delicate balance between the sacharine banality of pop and the boredom of ambience.
If you loved their first two releases, please PREVIEW TMT before you encourage this gifted but misguided group further down the wrong road by purchasing it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Parfait
Le délai de livraison était dans les temps, le boîtier et le cd étaient en parfait état. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2011 by Mary
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok.......
After reading the reviews on this CD, I was really expecting an absolutely horrible CD. Well, it's not as good as their previous stuff, but it is a solid CD in my opinion. Read more
Published on April 14 2003 by R. Coley
1.0 out of 5 stars awful!!!
ok, i admit it. i was sucked into this group by the really cool music from the volkswagen commercial, renaissance affair from "blue wonder powder milk." i loved it. Read more
Published on April 8 2003 by Digby
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tree Grows...
A lot of bands whose first lp is considered fantastic then either continue to follow that format or move on to other things. Read more
Published on March 21 2003 by William Petersen
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all perspective
It's funny, the reviews on this one are all over the map. Myself, this is the first Hooverphonic that I came upon, and just loved it. Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2003 by Brian Pianalto
3.0 out of 5 stars Pop-Hop
This title is not meant to be a compliment. The only thing good that remains in this album is the music, or the instrumentals that defines most Trip-Hop artist. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars From amazing to horrible!
My feelings towards Hooverphonic are as follows. "A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular" is still one of my favorite cds ever recorded. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2002 by LCA76
1.0 out of 5 stars From amazing to horrible!
My feelings towards Hooverphonic are as follows. "A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular" is still one of my favorite cds ever recorded. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2002 by LCA76
5.0 out of 5 stars even betterlive
A magnificent album which is even beter live. A very attractive and charismatic lead singer
Published on Oct. 17 2002 by Koen Van den Heede
1.0 out of 5 stars a bad characature
I was sorely disappointed with Hooverphonic's third release The Magnificent Tree. Not only is the title ridiculous, but the sound is like a bad characature of their first two... Read more
Published on May 24 2002 by Shawn S. Delaney
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