Monday, April 30, 2012
The Phenomenal Handclap Band Understand Form And Control
The Phenomenal Handclap Band is a tight-knit group of musicians and artists from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Led by the Witch Doctor and the Medicine Man, the group has approximately 233,379 members in it who are all famous to some degree and if that weren't enough not one of them actually claps their hands. Instead, what the PHB do is create some sort of strange tripped out psychedelic disco funk that sounds more like it belongs at Studio 54 in 1979 than in the heart of the city. The band's latest album Form and Control is an exploration of just about everything groovy in music and when you have a zillion members it kind of makes musical sense to cram all that onto one album.
Varied, diverse, and most definitely unusual, the PHB refuse to do anything by the book. Instead, the band picks up the book of how things are supposed to be done and throws it out the window with the hope of never seeing again. The result is a freeflowing effort that is constantly in a state of flux and sounds like it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as there's always something brilliant just around the corner and whether its dancefloor friendly, soul influenced ballads, prog-like rock explorations or indie pop, PHB do it with dramatic flair. These guys are good and they're not afraid to show it on Form and Control.
Form and Control is engrossing and loaded with heart. The fact that so much talent is gathered here makes the record a success by default. The songs, on the other hand, make it an absolute enthralling experience that's much more than the sum of the bands parts. What may have started as an cosmic idea and album ago has taken on a life of its own.