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STRANGELET

Hands

Symphonic Prog


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Hands Strangelet album cover
4.00 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Strangelet
2. Dark Matter
3. Tambourin
4. Running Room
5. Entry of the Shiny Beasts
6. Miracle in the Mind
7. Rotten*

Recorded at Luminous Sound
*recorded live at Crystal Clear Sound

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Michael Clay / piano, keyboards, guitars and alto saxophone
- Mark Cook / Warr Guitar and devices
- John Fiveash / drum kit and cymbals
- Ernie Myers / vocals and guitars
- Martin McCall / drum kit and sundry percussions
- Steve Powell / bass, guitar, background vocals, additional keyboards, noises and samples

Releases information

Independently released
Downloadable at iTunes

This album is dedicated to Ian Wallace (1946 - 2007)

Thanks to Cesar Inca for the addition
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HANDS Strangelet ratings distribution


4.00
(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
21%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
57%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

HANDS Strangelet reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#168540) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Being a real prog survivor from the 70s and with a wide array of influences and notions in its musical style, it is just a pity that Hands' discography hasn't been so consistent. It is also a miracle that in the idological-commerical circumstances that have shaped the music industry for the last 28 years this band still manages to make music in the new millennium. Not a miracle at all, but an absolute pleasure it is the fact that Hands' 2008 effort Strangelet happens to be one of the most solid and creative albums to be released in the current experimental rock scene. This album features a strong presence of guitars in many places: besides the habitual guitarist, the keyboardist and the bassist als oadd guitar inputs, plus veteran Stick/Warr Guitar player Mark Cook enters the band to make his own contribution. This is also teh first Hands album without a violinist and without a wind player, so I didn't kwno what to expect before getting it, but now I am totally convinced that the band remains as colorful as always, taking advantage of the present instrumental strategy. The opener is a very brief interlude that leads to the monster track 'Dark Matter', which lasts 15 minutes. The first sonorities offer a hybrid of Gordian Knot and Djam Karet, exploring an alternation of exotic Eastern-like textures and dense space rock- influenced passages. The heavy-friendly twists bring occasional ornaments in order to emphasize a sense of extravagance. The bucolic section that gets started at minute 7 bring a stylish serenity that gradually builds the elaboration of another bombastic section. The relatively Yessian epilogue tha tfills the track's last 2 minutes state a contemplative stance, with a cleverly ordained pompous closure. This track is pure progressiveness incarnated in a frame of modern sonic structures - 'Dark Matter' is a world in itself within the world that is Strangelet. 'Tambourin' features the piano on a prominent role: this piece goes to a different mood, combining the jazzy side of Keith Emerson and Happy the Man's lyrical reflectiveness. The instrumental approach takes fair advantage of the 5 minute span. 'Running Room', with a cadence that bears an unhidden inspiration from The Beatles' psychedelic era, may bring some memories from the early stages of The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard, more specifcially, during its first 4 minutes. Then comes a series of Gentle Giant-like tricks that brings an augmented intensity to the instrumental development, adding a variety so fluidly that it doesn't kill the natural flow. 'Entry of the Shiny Beasts' is based on a playful melodic approach to jazz-rock, stating a midway between late 70s Chick Corea and Happy the Man. 'Miracle in the Mind' offers a semi-acoustic portion that reminds us of a hybrid of King Crimson and Gentle Giant: there is an inevitable weirdness that fills the overall relaxing scheme. Things get more intense with the emergence of a tribal section, in which the plural drumming frenzy is augmented by soundscapes and street noises. The last 2 minutes retake the opening motif with an extra touch of neurosis. But nowhere does this album get as neurotic as in the closing track, 'Rotten', which was recorded libve at Cristal Clear Sound Studios. This is a solid study of Crimsonian tension with a neccntuation of the hard rocking aspect. This album is a must for any lover of prog rock with a tight eclectic approach and abundant traces of creativity: in a few words, good prog rock music. Thsi album is dedicated to the memory of drummer Ian wallace (a friend of the band's), and honestly, I cannot imagine a better tribute than this magnum opus. Write down this item's name - Strangelet... and take into your collection!!

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#175511) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 27, 2008

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