Phenomenal Handclap Band – Form & Control

January 01, 1970

(Tummy
Touch)

 

www.tummytouch.com

 

There’s
a good reason why Bryan Ferry cites the Phenomenal Handclap Band, with whom he
recently wrapped a U.S. tour, as his current favorite group. Perhaps it is
because the most distinguished gentleman in rock ‘n’ roll sees much of his old
outfit Roxy Music within the context of the Brooklyn-based indie supergroup’s
deft ability to straddle the frequency separating AOR and Top 40 on the radio
dial as well as he had done at the height of Roxy’s hit making appeal. And
while PHB might not do so as elegantly as Ferry, the sextet led by New York DJs
Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand nevertheless continue to
strive for such groovy grace on their second full-length LP.

 

Form & Control exhibits a duality that
splits the difference in the disparity of the Clap’s soulful psych-pop/dance
club fusion. When it starts off, you feel as though you’ve walked into some
Bushwick loft party where the coolest ‘80s nostalgia act is serving as the
house band, getting the hipster masses to dance the skinny jeans off their bony
asses as they emulate the likes of Gorgio Moroder, The Human League and
Shriekback on such original songs as “Following” and “Shake”.

 

Then,
about halfway through this 12-song set, the band flips the script, going from
an early MTV fever dream to a more organic paisley rock vibe, as synths and
808s give way to jangly guitars and hypnotic organs on tracks like “Winter
Falls” and “Mirrors”.

Such an abrupt sonic segue makes for something of a choppy listening
experience, but nevertheless showcases the versatility and talent of this band.
If only they could find a better balance between the two flavors they are
working with on Form & Control the
next time out, they could create a fusion that would truly be “phenomenal.”

 

DOWNLOAD: “Following,” “Shake,”
“Winter Falls,” “Mirrors” RON HART

 

 

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