Hitting most of the right notes in mostly the right order, there's no reason for this new album from Hopewell to be as anemic and disappointing as it is. The group has focused their Lips/Mercury Rev-style psych-sprawl to the point that even producer Dave Fridmann saw fit to lend his skills to the project. And most of the songs on Birds of Appetite display a forward-looking reach for cracked grandeur. But too often, as on the Coldplay-with-twang of "Square Peg Teeth" or the clattering, Rev-aping grandiosity of "Hello Radio," the album misses the mark wildly. When they do lock into something potentially mind-blowing, like the explosive weirdness of the instrumental title track, they cut it off before it goes anywhere. Add to that vocalist Jason Russo's easy slides into Wayne Coyne vocal tribute, and you've got a disc that's as guiltily enjoyable as it is totally uninspiring.
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