Hide From Cleo – Coffee Dreams and Acoustic Beans (CD)

Hide From Cleo – Coffee Dreams and Acoustic Beans / 2006 Self / 17 Tracks / http://www.hidefromcleo.com / Reviewed 07 February 2007

Hide From Cleo comes out of the gates with a noisy restaurant sound, which kind of makes sense since the title of the track is called “Breakfast at Woodies”. The start is not the quickest thing ever heard, but the band is setting up listeners for the rest of the disc. “Lemonade” is a track that blends together Fiona Apple with Alanis Morrisette with a backing track that keeps the very close, comfortable feelings that Hide From Cleo first inundated their listeners with during “Breakfast at Woodies”. “Preacher Song” continues with this down-home guitar line, dominating the track for the introduction.

If there was one thing to take home from Hide From Cleo, it would be the technical and arrangement skills exhibited by the members of the band. While the production values are a little on the treble-y side, the arrangements are not hindered in any way. Most of the time that a band cuts so many tracks, there is bound to be chaff that individuals wonder why the band didn’t cut out. However, Hide From Cleo continually cuts strong track after track, with one of these early pinnacles being “Sideways”. The male vocals that come forth blend perfectly with the acoustic and drive the band into an entirely new realm. Even if the band stays in a specific, late nineties / early two-thousand-like style during the majority of tracks on “Coffee Dreams and Acoustic Beans”, the fact is there that Hide From Cleo is able to interact with fans from all eras, of all ages.

Hide From Cleo is an act that needs to get better distribution of their album. I could see the act skyrocketing up the CMJ charts here soon, should they go that route. The only thing that the band really needs to do in my eyes is either strive for a more live and intimate sound or for a more radio-friendly, smoothed-out sound. The tracks on “Coffee Dreams and Acoustic Beans” bounce back and forth between those two styles, and while the songs are not affected, the individual listener’s attention is jarred at points. “Good Witch” blends the guitar work of a Jane’s Addiction with a set of vocals that blend together Living Colour and Edwyn McCain; the track is perhaps one of the most innovative on the album. Hide From Cleo can be summed up in much of the same way that “Good Witch” sums up “Coffee Dreams and Acoustic Beans”: interesting, always innovative, and well worth a listen (or three).

Top Tracks: Good Witch, Preacher’s Song

Rating: 6.5/10

[JMcQ]

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