Hoboe are a multi-trick pony

Read all about it
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  January 11, 2012

beat2_HoboeSquare_main

If you've heard of Hoboe, it's probably because of the gimmick. Either the fact that they're "a rock band with an oboe!" or they're a "rock band that plays Beethoven!" Considering they don't have any singalong-friendly, three-minute songs, or a whole lot of obvious reference points, that's not a bad ploy.

On their debut full-length, Travel by 7 Planes, released at the stroke of midnight, January 1, they sometimes don't make themselves all that accessible, that's for sure. There's some psychedelic rave-up for retro '60s lovers, but then comes Thom Metz's metallic guitar riffage. Zen Ben's lead vocals tend to the drone and monotone, while Bob Bergeron's are raspy and tuneless. They repeat lyrics until they feel like a bludgeon.

But, like the Nuclear Boots record from last year, there's a certain charm here. For one, the oboe is kind of cool. At times, like on "St. Staring," it's downright Middle Eastern. On "Nowhere Boat" it's more like Charlie Parker. Regardless, it's new and different.

And those vocals, they sort of grow on you. "Ghost in My Heart" winds up downright catchy, trending toward Radiohead at times (except for the guitar pyrotechnics), with at least one great lyric: "'Get off your ass,' you told me, and I elected to stay down." The slow-down to half-time works really well, too.

By the dueling bites of Nirvana's "Come as You Are" and Faith No More's "Epic" in the closing "Forfeit," I was much more sold than I thought I'd be at the opening oboe-fueled sludgefest. Much more.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at  sam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

TRAVEL BY 7 PLANES | Released by Hoboe | at White's Cue Connection, in Gray | Feb. 24 |  hoboeband.bandcamp.com

  Topics: CD Reviews , Charlie Parker, Hoboe, Hoboe,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FIRST SECOND COMING  |  August 22, 2014
    Hey, look, I Discovered a Planet
  •   THE CRUNK WITCH THAT THEY ARE  |  August 14, 2014
    Three albums in, Crunk Witch are now far more than novelty. The all-digital, husband-wife duo of Brandon Miles and Hannah Collen have created enough material at this point to establish a clear method behind what can sometimes seem like madness.  
  •   FIRE ON FIRE  |  August 07, 2014
    From the varying deliveries and styles through the three fully instrumental tracks, there’s a lot to consider in Pyronauts , with equal attractions in playing it loud in the car with the windows down and in the headphones.
  •   HIP HOP SUMMER  |  July 31, 2014
    For pure output, it’s hard to argue Portland is anything but a hip hop city.
  •   SEVEN-MAN ARMY  |  July 24, 2014
    Lately, it’s been open season on “Wagon Wheel,” which has become the acoustic musician’s “Freebird,” one of the very few songs that people actually know well enough to find it funny to request.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE