Created in large part by founder Bert Hoover (guitar, vocals), the Los Angeles-based psych outfit HooverIII (pronounced Hoover Three) gradually expanded to a full-fledged band with the addition of Gabe Flores (guitar, vocals), Kat Mirblouk (bass, synths), James Novick (synths) and Owen Barrett (drums).
Throughout the bulk of their career, the band has developed a reputation for putting out two releases a year, including singles, live albums and the like — and that included 2021’s seven-song Water for the Frogs, a jam-band-like effort that featured songs with an average length of about 5 minutes. (The album’s closing track clocked in at almost 10 minutes.)
The members of Hooveriii began to realize that time — our most valuable resources — shouldn’t be taken for granted, they got to work on A Round of Applause, their second album released through Reverberation Appreciation Society. Slated for a July 29, 2022 release, the album derives its title from the late-’80s Roky Erickson song “Click Your Fingers Applauding the Play.” “That’s too much of a mouthful,” the band’s founder Bert Hoover says. “My title, A Round of Applause, just came one day, and we were like, ‘Yo, that sounds like a Gentle Giant record.’”
Reportedly, the most pop-leaning batch of material from the band to date, the album occasionally pays homage to the Canterbury scene while being a sort of palette cleanser. “I am not really a playlist guy or a singles guy,” Hoover admits. “I’m really into the album experience. … So yeah, we made a pop record. But also, to me, this record is very progressive as well, and I think that that provides a nice balance.”
The band also found additional inspiration from Nick Cave, who once famously said that dabbling with new ideas continues to fuel his near-50 year career. So the band took a decidedly different approach and gave themselves the freedom to explore and play with ideas during the creative and recording process.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “See,” a sunny AM rock-like bit of psych rock featuring rousingly anthemic hooks, dense layers of guitars, a strutting groove and Bert Hoover’s easy-going, laid back delivery paired with blazing guitar solo. And that was before the song’s trippy and furious coda. While sonically nodding at Creedence Clearwater Revival and Summer of Love-era psych rock, “See” was centered around an overwhelmingly uplifting message.
“‘See’ is about trying not to take life for granted,” Bert Hoover explains. “Some things are easier said than done. It’s our first song to feature Anna Wallace singing along with us and it came together rather seamlessly. It was a pretty bare bones jangle jam until the band filled it with ear candy.”
“Twisted & Vile,” A Round of Applause‘s last single before its release may feature the biggest set of riffs on the entire album paired with a swaggering and strutting groove and Hoover’s easy-going yet plaintive delivery. But underneath the riffage, is an aching yearning.
It’s a song about trying to figure out your place in life,” HooverIII’s Bert Hoover says. He adds, ““I wrote it with a Hammond Auto-vari drum machine many years ago that sat on a reel of tape untouched. We like to reference the archives when putting together a new record because you never know where inspiration strikes. We dusted this one off and thought we could really make this work. Everyone’s instrumentation fell right into the pocket, especially Gabe’s leads. Very proud of the crew. The song, to me, is about finding your place in the scheme of things – but really we’re just trying to have a good time.”
The accompanying video by Millar Wileman uses a series of animated and playful collages that reminds me of Monty Python introductions but with bright color schemes and a running joke about fish with feet.