Second full-lengther from Liverpool-via-Bradford quintet, its title inspired by a Bulgarian folk ditty

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Score 3


Since 1999’s Stephen Street-produced debut The Magic Treehouse, Dan Popplewell’s Ooberman have zigzagged an erratic course: from band-most-likely-to to label castaways and back. If 2001’s Running Girl mini LP was a timely reminder of talent, Hey Petrunko! sees them return to full(ish) bloom. Subtle, painterly pop, this is meticulously crafted exotica awash with strings, piano and tremolo guitars. It’s occasionally overcooked, but there’s no denying the dazzling vision of “Open The Hatch” (an astronaut’s fruitless search for God) or the cinematic perfection of “Where Did I Go Wrong?” Sophia Churney’s voice?like lavender permeating through woodsmoke?is a joy throughout.