Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Review: Koot Hoomi "The Dark Side of Hall and Oates"

Koot Hoomi (self-proclaimed Hall and Oates mega-fans) have set out with a vision of not only covering some of their beloved favorite songs, but also, as they put it, "re-imaging the catalog as it might exist in an alternate universe." Their creation, playfully titled, "The Dark Side of Hall and Oates", comfortably lies somewhere between George Harrison and Middle Eastern-infused, dirty, indie folk. The project was largely recorded in living rooms and basements, using cheap instruments and an old-school Tascam 488 analog tape recorder, giving it a entrancing, low-fi allure. In addition to tackling the songs that actually spent some time on the Billboard charts (ie: "Maneater", "Kiss on My List", "Out of Touch"), Koot Hoomi has also reinterpreted a number of deep cuts and b-sides, going all the way back to Daryl Hall and John Oates’ earliest Philly demos.

There's something oddly fascinating about a Hall and Oates tribute album that includes Tuvan throat-singing, sitars, and an the interpretation of songs that feel sort of like Ravi Shankar meets Sufjan Stevens meets Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now".

Highlights include their acoustical renditions of "Say It Isn't So", "Maneater", "One On One", and "Back In Love Again" - the understated beauty in these sparse arrangements truly speak to the brilliance in Hall and Oates' songwriting. Koot Hoomi also has some guts - taking liberty to turn "Adult Education" into a Beastie Boys-styled rap is going to seem sacrilegious to some fans. But whether you like these lo-fi and eclectic interpretations or not, one thing is undeniable: you've never heard Hall and Oates songs performed like this before!

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 6, 14

Koot Hoomi on MySpace. Official site. Go here to order.

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