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Hysterical Stars
     

Hysterical Stars

by Head of Femur
 
Head of Femur returns with Hysterical Stars, an album of orchestral, briskly mischievous pop that uses the crazier moments of the band's debut, Ringodom or Proctor, as a launching point and makes them even more, well, hysterical. Boasting bigger, brighter productions and arrangements with keyboards, brass, and strings that bounce around hyperactively yet

Overview

Head of Femur returns with Hysterical Stars, an album of orchestral, briskly mischievous pop that uses the crazier moments of the band's debut, Ringodom or Proctor, as a launching point and makes them even more, well, hysterical. Boasting bigger, brighter productions and arrangements with keyboards, brass, and strings that bounce around hyperactively yet precisely, the album recalls '60s novelty pop hits like "Yellow Submarine," "Winchester Cathedral," and "MacArthur Park" as much as it does more culturally approved psych-pop artifacts such as Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Head of Femur's wide-eyed, wild-eyed playfulness is both the band's greatest strength (even the ballads "Song for Richard Manuel" and "Sometimes Friends" have Cheshire cat-like smile shadows lurking around their edges) and weakness. When it works, as on the breezy "Do the Cavern" and "Ringodom or Proctor" (which didn't actually appear on Ringodom or Proctor itself), it's irresistible. However, on weaker tracks like "The Sausage Canoe" -- which features a tuba, ukulele, and watery sound effects -- it feels like quirkiness for quirkiness' sake. The way that Head of Femur picks up ideas, bats them around, and then drops them like sugar-buzzing kids left alone in a toy store makes Hysterical Stars a collection of moments rather than a cohesive album. But oh, those moments: the triumphant brass on "Manhattan," the twinkling keyboards on "Percy," and "Easy Street"'s ramshackle chorus all have enough charm to make up for some of Hysterical Stars' more awkward bits. The album's best tracks, such as "The Skirts Are Takin' Over" and "Oh You're Blue," are playful and polished, like a masterfully done finger painting; even though most of Hysterical Stars is more intriguing than satisfying, enough of it works that it can't be dismissed easily.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/24/2005
Label:
Spin Art
UPC:
0750078016228
catalogNumber:
162

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Head of Femur   Primary Artist
Julie Pomerleau   Background Vocals
Tiffany Kowalski   Violin,Tambourine,Vocals
Andra Kulans   Violin
Benjamin Armstrong   Bass,Percussion,Drums,Keyboards,Vocals
Jonathan Hischke   Bass
Nate Lepine   Tenor Saxophone
Colby Starck   Background Vocals
Nate Walcott   Trumpet
Sam Johnson   Trumpet
Sabrina Duim   Harp
Dan Dietrich   Bass
Nick Broste   Trombone,Tuba
Melissa Bach   Cello
Anton Hatwich   Upright Bass
Meret Bitticks   Flute,Piccolo
Todd Boyce   Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Michael Partington Elsener   Bass,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Matt Focht   Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
Tracy Golaszewski   French Horn
Angie Mead   Vocals
Randy Mollner   Percussion,Violin,Keyboards,Viola
Jonathan "JP" Parker   Trumpet,Background Vocals
Matt Silcock   Bass
Charlie Vinz   Banjo,Violin,Glockenspiel,Electric Piano
Allison Vogelsberg   English Horn
John Yao   Trombone
Nick Moran   Baritone Saxophone
Ben Armstrong   Percussion,Drums,Keyboards,Vocals
Patrick Newbery   Trumpet
Johnathan Crawford   Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Marshall Partington Elsener   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Matt Focht   Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
Charlie Vinzl   Guitar,Violin,Glockenspiel,Gong,Background Vocals
Sam Johnson   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Chris Brickley   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Benjamin Armstrong   Composer
Jonathan Hischke   Composer
Head of Femur   Audio Production
Dan Dietrich   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Nick Broste   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Michael Partington Elsener   Composer
Matt Focht   Composer
Henry McGee   Back Cover
Brad Stevison   Engineer
Charlie Vinz   String Arrangements

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