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Advice From the Happy Hippopotamus

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Album Review

Minnesota's Cloud Cult may use Odelay as a touchstone on Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus but the outfit's experimental beats and hip-hop junk are far more out there than that influence could ever be. Lyrically and vocally removed from the Beck Hansen school of thought, the group evokes strains of the Polyphonic Spree and the Flaming Lips, while brainchild Craig Minowa comes down heavy in terms of topics. The engaging, experimental "Living on the Outside of Your Skin" makes effective use of toy pianos and handclaps to keep listeners on their toes, and Cloud Cult's environmentally astute stance is evident in tracks like "Moving to Canada" — which pays homage to minimalist groups like the Black Keys with inexplicable skill. From the acoustic-techno shuffle of "Start New" to the pulsating, warped pop of "Happy Hippo," this cult can't help but leave a strong impression. When the latter nicks a hook from Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)," it puts Minowa's wide musical scope, which varies from folk to funk to punk to electronica (sometimes in the same song), on display for all comers. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Duluth, MN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The experimental, environmentally conscious Cloud Cult began in the mid-'90s in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The band was initially the solo project of Craig Minowa, who launched Cloud Cult while he was pursuing a degree in environmental science, and also shining shoes and driving an ice cream truck, among other jobs. Minowa spent the bulk of 1995 recording The Shade Project, which included sounds produced by buckets, pans, and couch cushions. Additional musicians were recruited to play the material live,...
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Advice From the Happy Hippopotamus, Cloud Cult
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