July 6, 2006

 Navigation

   Home Page

 News & Features

   News

 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note

   Boomers

   Pinings

   Longshots

   Techie

 Pop Culture

   Film

   TV

   Books
   Video Games
   CD Reviews

 Living

   Food

   Wine

   Beer
   Grazing Guide

 Music

   Articles

   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts

   Bandmates

 Arts

   Theater

   Art

 Find A Hippo

   Manchester

   Nashua

 Classifieds

   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad

 Advertising

   Advertising

   Rates

 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover


Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche: Outtakes & Extras from Illinois Album
Asthmatic Kitty Records, 2006

The reluctant (nudge) indie-folk wombat and ski-cap knitter returns, Katrina the Hot Ford Model and the rest of his bizarre entourage in tow, to relieve himself at last of the other 20-odd songs fans weren't privileged to hear on Illinois. To pronounce the oft-imitated Stevens laid back would be like saying jackrabbits tend to get amorous — influenced by specialty product like Mike Oldfield, Stevens' unassuming, muted, fragile falsetto combines the earthiness of Nilsson with the vocal gymnastics of a boys choir. Mushed all together, the 50 songs that make up the two albums adhere to no coherent purview aside from sharing mechanical traits like banjo, oom-pah choruses, fluffy symphonics and so forth, hence this set of takes, weirdly awesome as ever, does work as a standalone. "The Henney Buggy Band," for instance, settles into an unworried "Marrakesh Express" vibe with the help of mariachi rhythms and tin-soldier drum rolls, and "Dear Mr. Supercomputer" waltzes through Third Eye Foundation's freak-chill looking glass dragging some jazz brass along for the ride. A-

— Eric W. Saeger


Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com