Hooverphonic's 1997 debut -- the aptly titled "A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular" -- was a gorgeous mix of marching beats, outer space electronics and angelic vocals. While their sophomore release is not quite as breathtaking, "Blue Wonder Power Milk" does reaffirm -- and sometimes improve -- Hooverphonic's aural blueprint.
The expansive opening cut, "Battersea," is propelled by a bed of skittering beats and features smooth, soaring vocals from new member Geike Arnaert. "One Way Ride" and "Out of Tune" sail into a luxurious orbit on ambient guitars and floating keyboards. Hooverphonic skates close to cheeseville when they rely on sterile string arrangements, trip-pop maneuvers and ill-advised attempts at sounding funky. Fortunately, they have a variety of ingredients to add to their "Blue Wonder Power Milk" recipe.