Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: The Phenomenal Handclap Band, The Phenomenal Handclap Band

The Phenomenal Handclap Band is all over the place which isn’t so suprising given that the Phenomenal Handclap Band is all over the place as well.  The band lists its members as Daniel Collás, Sean Marquand, Patrick Wood, Luke O’Malley, Nick Movshon, Bing Ji Ling, Joan Tick, and Laura Martin.  According to the track credits, Ji Ling, Tick and Martin don’t appear on any of the songs on the album.  Kimi Recor contributes vocals to 4 of the CD’s 12 tracks and isn’t listed as a member of the band.  The track credits list a bewildering array of musicians that appear once and are never heard again.

Things become clearer when you focus on two names.  The Phenomenal Handclap Band are basically music producers Collás and Marquand and whoever they happened to get together to contribute to their tracks.  Collás and Marquand wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks save one (more on this one later) and play keyboards throughout the album.  The band’s website insists they really are a band and maybe an actual band came together in the making of this album but we’ll have to wait for their next release to hear what they sound like.

What The Phenomenal Handclap Band sounds like is somebody’s mix tape who likes 70s funk, R&B, and disco with a healthy dose of psychedelic rock.  Like LCD Soundsystem’s recent This Is Happening, many of the tracks on The Phenomenal Handclap Band sound like The Phenomenal Handclap Band doing their version of some other group.  “All of the Above”  is their version of a Traffic tune; “15 to 20” is like Go Team! with Lady Tiga doing the playground chants instead of a bunch of kids.  And so on.  Also like the LCD Soundsystem CD you can’t help but think that the original bands did it a lot better.

The one track that Collás and Marquand did not have a hand in writing is “I Been Born Again” which was written by Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman.  Some listeners may recognize Kaylan and Volman as the duo who formed The Turtles of “Happy Together” fame in 1965.  They joined Frank Zappa in 1970 where they began calling themselves The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie, which was later shortened to Flo and Eddie, names they have used ever since.  Kaylan and Volman are the vocalists who appear on the terrific Zappa live album Just Another Band From L.A, Chunga’s Revenge and others from the same time period.

I found The Phenomenal Handclap Band to be one of those albums that sounded pretty good on first listen but got old quickly.  Too many of the tracks are pale imitations of other people’s work.  Maybe with a stable lineup and a refocus on developing their own sound The Phenomenal Handclap Band may generate more interest the next time around.

“All of the Above” from The Phenomenal Handclap Band

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07/06/2010 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , , ,

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