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Wisely armed with bliss to fight our age of calamity, LA psych-kraut explorers Hooveriii return with their pastoral and expansive 4th album “Pointe.”
“Pointe” is not the sound of Hooveriii maturing. It’s the sound of a band at the height of their power ascending.
There’s a moment leading up to each decision where, for a brief instant, there are infinite possibilities that have yet to be distilled into a singular outcome. It’s a phenomenon that has been explored over the years by novelists like Graham Greene and a concept that Hooveriii frontman Bert Hoover also feels inexplicably drawn towards. “I find that period in time to be fascinating, maybe I’m in it often, but a lot of these songs take place in that moment and that moment can last for years,” he explains. This idea lies at the conceptual core of Hooveriii’s fourth album Pointe, a collection of songs that features musicians from the band’s past and present and sees them collectively exploring musical geography that Hooveriii hasn’t explored in the past. “We just wanted to do something different,” Hoover says. “We were feeling a little burnt on guitar rock and really wanted to challenge ourselves.”
The result is an album that was inspired by everything from the ‘60s psychedelic act Pisces to Phil Lynott’s solo releases and pioneering electronic acts like Tangerine Dream, to craft a collection of songs that are more about creating a specific type of feeling than fitting into a specific genre. “I feel like on this album we were bringing a lot of influences to the forefront that we never had the maturity to accomplish before while also leaning into the humour a little bit and avoiding being full-on ‘serious songwriters,’” Hoover adds. Correspondingly, the music roster on Pointe features Hoover, Kaz Mirblouk, James Novick, Owen Barrett, Gabe Flores, Gabriel Salomon, Anna Wallace, Paco Casanova, Matt Zuk, Jon Modaff, Shaughnessy Starr, Olaf Selland and Ari B. Jones and was—and unlike previous Hooveriii releases—was recorded over an extended period of time and was both consciously and subconsciously inspired by the touring the band did in support of 2021’s Water For The Frogs and 2022’s A Round Of Applause. “I’m really grateful for all of the people who contributed to this album and it’s a long list of people but it’s important that they are all listed because we all really pulled together to make this album,” Hoover adds.
“Every record is kind of a response to the last record and I like listening to people’s discographies like that,” Hoover explains. “When we finished A Round Of Applause we were in rock mode playing with a lot of rock and psych bands and I was really thinking about what do you do with a fourth record?” The answer turns out to be something more esoteric and less predictable than a guitar-driven album while retaining the core of the band’s sound, which has made the Los Angeles-based act such an exciting act to watch evolve. From the spacey groove of the opener “Prom” to the expansive, synth-friendly ballad “This Rock” and the epic future-folk experimentation of the album’s closer “Dreaming” (which features vocals by Wallace), Pointe is an album that references the past while stretching toward an unknown future. “I think that our intuition going forward is to keep ourselves surprised and keep people who like us surprised, hopefully without isolating anyone,” he adds.
When it comes to the lyrics for Pointe, Hoover says that while some of these are more personal than his previous material, it’s important for him to leave the actual content up to each listener’s own interpretation. “I like songs where people can admit to being deadbeats even if it is more of a character or you’re reflecting on one aspect of your personality,” he explains. “It’s also a transitional record in a lot of ways because sonically we wanted to drift away for album number four.” Correspondingly, Hoover considers “This Rock” to be a love song. But it could just as easily be about existential dread or the way that another person can change one’s orientation to the universe. Or the countless small decisions that can lead up to an outcome and the way our own smallness can be a catalyst for putting something out into the world that can affect so many other people in unexpected and important ways. Or maybe it is about none of these things, it’s whatever it means to you.
More than anything else Pointe feels like a full circle moment for Hooveriii, which has evolved from a bedroom solo project into an expansive band that features an army of talented musicians and contributors. “In a lot of ways, Pointe feels like an epilogue to one phase of the band and a prologue to the next one,” Hoover says of how the band’s latest release fits into their musical catalog. Pointe is a collection of songs that weren’t recorded in a linear fashion but that fit together in a way that feels almost cosmic in nature. In other words, it’s Hooveriii at their most creative and undistilled. “I don't really care about trying to push the envelope forward,” However admits, looking back at the long road leading up to completing the album. “I care about making a good record that sounds cohesive—and I feel like with this one, we did a good job.”
2. The Tall Grass
3. This Rock
4. Can't You Hear Me Calling?
5. I Am Alive
1. The Game
2. Circling The Square
3. The Ship That I Sail