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Detrola
Format: Audio CDChange
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2006
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
HNIA is my favorite band, and have been since 1993. Needless to say, I was getting very nervous after the last two albums. Not that they were bad; in fact, they were very creative. Only to me, they didn't sound like HNIA. I mean, it was like someone plopping a Prodigy CD into my player and saying, "This is the new HNIA". Those two albums, with a different sound and a very different singer, were more like side projects for Warn Defever than full-blown HNIA releases (although he might argue that).

However, Detrola brings back the musical genius of Defever. I don't think it's quite as good as Ft.Lake, but probably the equal to E.S.P. Karin Oliver (last album was Ft.Lake) had such a great voice; Andy F.M.(new singer) sounds very similar, almost in a spooky way. The sound of that voice, whether it comes from Karin or Andy, is HNIA. My only complaint is the length. A little too short in my opinion, though that might be an illusion because it's so good and I don't want it to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
DETROLA, the first album by His Name Is Alive since LAST NIGHT four years previously, represents a sort of return-to-form for Warn Defever's main project.

After one independent and two major-label albums in an R & B and jazz-inspired vein, here we see a return to the sort of idiosyncratic pop and retro stylings of late '90s HNIA. I was generally pleased by HNIA's turn to soul stylings in the albums WHEN THE STARS... and SOMEDAY MY BLUES..., and the latter is even one of HNIA's finest efforts. But with LAST NIGHT, I was unhappy with Warn's surrendering of creative control to his musicians, resulting in an inconsistent album that lacked the cleverness of Warn's songwriting. On DETROLA, however, everything is tight and meticulously arranged, and one is always certain that music is straight from the vision of this titan of indie music.

And all Warn's old concerns are here, from sexual innuendo hidden behind syrupy pop that you don't notice until you start singing along (e.g. "In my dreams it's beautiful, we go down at the same time... just like a six and like a nine"), to uncomfortably threatening murmurs ("not everyone gets a warning...", "I'll drown you in a stream..."). No wonder one notable review called it a collection of "perverse fantasies", but it's some of the most moving songwriting around.

Musically, there's a mix of the old and the new. Vocalist Andy FM hearkens back to the days of long-time HNIA vocalist Karin Oliver, and the old b-side "You Need A Heart To Live" is recorded again here. There's also two very striking new developments, the first being acoustic ambient music tied to some of Warn's latest compositional work, and the second a striking use of drum machines something like Swayzak with a sense of humour. The only bits remaining from the R & B era are one track with vocalist Lovetta Pippen ("Seven Minutes") and some saxophone here and there. All in all, however, everything seems so fresh that Warn is in no way "back-peddling" from his controversial post-millennium style, but rather it all sounds like a clear and organic progression.

DETROLA is a fun album any fan of indie pop will find enjoyable. If I rate this less than five stars, it's only because I personally have generally moved away from the 4AD bands I adored in my youth towards (modern- or contemporary) classical music. But for fans of HNIA of whatever period, DETROLA is very much worth hearing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
HNIA's ever-changing bent is back to weird pop for the time being, after two (excellent, by the way, and totally unheralded) soul albums, Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth and Last Night. Lovetta Pippen, the singer who took almost all of the main vocals on those last two albums, is only a minor player here, as the old-school HNIA indie-rock female vocalists (there are so many of them, and they seem to use different names at different times, so it's hard to know which of them is singing on which track) take over. Some of the jazz sound found on Last Night is present as an undertone here, but mostly this is left-of-center pop, although more upbeat, less ethereal than what was found on old HNIA albums like the sublime Stars on ESP. If you like the poppier stuff on the Ft. Lake album, this one's for you.
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Format: Audio CD
This listens like a throwback album at first, a wierdly natural successor to Ft. Lake. Yet HNIA has retained the late-night vibe of the two radically different albums since Ft. Lake (Last Night & Someday My Blues Will Cover The Earth) while shedding most obvious nods to R&B. In general, the songs here are more expansive than either of the former phases of HNIA: the collage technique used on their earlier albums did not frequently permit long song structures, yet on Detrola the sound-colors have returned to their more unpredictable mid-90s indie-pop palette.

The 2-album foray into soul has left it's mark indelibly, it's in the very wires and circuitry of the songs -- however Detrola tastes like a delicious slice of the distant, slowly spinning dream-pop past.
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on April 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This has to be the most ambitious HNIA album I've heard. I can't remember the last time I liked something so thoroughly after just one listen. The album manages to meander through so many different genres in just 38 minutes, and every part of it impresses me. I highly recommend Detrola.
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