It’s been nearly 20 years since Hooverphonic released “2 Wicky,”a drowsy, Isaac Hayes-sampling seductress of a track that typified the trip-hop era. But their latest album doesn’t have the astro-groove of their original works, or that of their peers like Morcheeba and Portishead. Instead, “The Night Before” (streamed in its entirety below) – originally released way back in 2010 overseas (it went triple platinum in their native Belgium) – is more instrumental and live than synthetic and heady. Above is the live performance of the first cut on the album, “Anger Never Dies.”
Check out its cover of Massive Attack classic “Unfinished Sympathy,” available for free download. Current lead singer Noémie Wolfs (the band has gone through a few over its life, with founding members Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts still onboard) delivers the familiar lines (“How can you have a day without a night?”) plaintively over solo piano and some strings, without a gut-socking sub-bass. Post-trip-hop, Hooverphonic is still about theater, but now it’s more on the stage than of the mind.