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Hands - Strangelet CD (album) cover

STRANGELET

Hands

 

Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 14 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Texas prog scene has always been reliable and Dallas veterans Hands keep that tradition on track with this 2008 release. In fact, if it's possible for TexProg to have a sound, it would probably be encapsulated by these guys. Guitarist/singer Ernie Myers and keyboardist Michael Clay have been plying their brand of art rock with an edge since the 70s and though generally pegged as 'symphonic', there is a lot more going on. The production is roomy, warm and understated, and the band reflects subtle prog influences while maintaining a fairly original identity. Especially pleasing are the contrasts between Clay's classical piano breaks, Myers' guitar, percussionists Martin McCall & John Fiveash, and Mark Cook (Warr guitar) and Steve Powell (bass) holding the bottom together. Occasional reminders of everyone from the Crims to Rush as well as newer acts like the Flower Kings and even fellow Texans Thirteen of Everything but again, nothing blatant.

An electrical quaver and a distant vibration of alloy puts us on hold until a bit of riffage starts 'Dark Matter', growing into a 15-minute monster of multiple changes, acoustic interludes, hard rock and Myers' slightly nasal sneer. A beautiful jazz line from Clay's piano and some fiery organ/drum exchanges for instrumental 'Tambourin', great prog here with reflective passages of jazzicality and tight playing. Sentimental and odd 'Running Room' vaguely recalls later Beatles with a symphonic facelift and shows this ensemble's wide range. Bouncing 'Entry of the Shiny Beasts' slows enough to allow in a bit more jazz and some fun with the keyboard, the spirit of Roger Waters is invoked for 'Miracle in the Mind' complete with acid freakout, and very Crimsonian 'Rotten' to finish, a pounder with a delicately laced little midsection. Very cool stuff, especially for those interested in contemporary U.S. prog.

Atavachron | 3/5 |

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