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We Haven't Just Been Told, We Have Been Loved

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Album Review

Not much of a departure from the debut album, but the second offering from Half-Handed Cloud is another dizzyingly complex swirl of psychedelic pop, children's music, and Christian apologetics. Again, Half-Handed Cloud's leader, John Ringhofer, whips through a collection of brief, interconnected songs — this time 24 song in 33 minutes. Most of them are piano-led, but he threw in just about everything else he could get his hands on: cello, whistles, pots and pans, and more. It sounds like a really smart Sunday school class on a sugar high let loose in a music store. The supporting cast includes most of the same people involved on Learning About Your Scale, but members of the Danielson Family also help out (Daniel Smith recorded some of the tracks, co-produced the album, and did an admirable job of mixing what could have easily been a jarring mess with so many different sounds coming together). "We Don't Know How It Grows," an epic track by Half-Handed Cloud standards, clocking in at over two and a half minutes, is one of the highlights. An acoustic guitar introduces the song and handclap punctuations and an accordion-led chorus follow before a trumpet and acoustic guitar chime in the finale: brief and complex, but not haphazard. We Haven't Just Been Told, We Have Been Loved may not be much of a progression from its predecessor, but it's every bit as successful in conveying complicated theological ideas in the form of finely wrought, yet lo-fi pop songs without a hint of preachiness.

Biography

Formed: Knoxville, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A moniker lifted out of the Old Testament by performance artist/multi-instrumentalist John Ringhofer, Half-Handed Cloud specializes in creating economically complex pop. His tenure with the quirky Wookieback over, Ringhofer has carved out a unique niche for himself with his insistence on severely truncated song structures. Armed with a 1960s Sears particle-board guitar, a trombone, and any number of other instruments he puts his hands on, often accompanied by ghoulish dolls and the adornment of homemade...
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We Haven't Just Been Told, We Have Been Loved, Half-Handed Cloud
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