Kristian Hoffman

Fop

by ML Heath

4 January 2011

 
cover art

KRISTIAN HOFFMAN

Fop

(Kayo Stereophonic/Sony Red)
US: 28 Sep 2010
UK: 28 Sep 2010

In 1977, the late New York rock historian Alan Betrock wrote that, in a perfect world, Kristian Hoffman - then keyboard player and songwriter for smart-pop funsters The Mumps (fronted by the late Lance Loud) - could write a Broadway musical that would shame the likes of Chorus Line composer Marvin Hamlisch.  On the evidence of a modest but stellar output as a solo artist since then, especially his latest, Fop, one might well assume that Hoffman might find such a task limiting.  However, it seems Betrock was right, for the 17 tracks here do manage to deftly conjure little Technicolor musicals in the listener‘s mind.

Hoffman’s mission statement since The Mumps has never wavered: playful, imaginatively crafted hard pop and wordplay that makes a lyric sheet gladly mandatory, and Fop delivers these goods big time.  Ballads like “Out Of The Habit” and opening track “Something New Is Born” are as affecting as they are widescreen-grand.  Uptempo tracks such as “I Can’t Go There With You” and “Imaginary Friend” show that Hoffman can bring the sunshine as well as the razzmatazz.  The pointed satire of “Evil” and “Ready Or Not” taste of sugar and venom in equal measures, while the NYC disco fromage of “Soothe Me” reminds listeners that Hoffman used to hang with downtown dudes like Klaus Nomi and James Chance.  Not bad for someone who’s been creating cultured tunefulness since before Rufus Wainwright was a gleam in Stephin Merritt’s doleful eye.

Fop

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article