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Hands - Palm Mystery CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 29 ratings

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3 stars Needless to say that ''Hands'' was characterized by the bulk of the Prog press as ''a lost diamond of 70's US Prog'' and the warm reviews led Michael Clay and Ernie Meyers to reform Hands sometime in 1997.Back to the original story, despite being dropped by producer Ken Scott for reasons beyond his action, Hands kept producing highly sophisticated, original material in late-70's.With the arrival of Disco things started to become even more difficult for inventive rock groups like Hands, leading to the departure of Michael Clay and Paul Bunker in 1979.The remaining members hired violin player Mark Menikos and new keyboardist Shannon Day and kept it going for about a year.Collectable recordings from the 1977-80 period were meant to be Hands' second album on Shroom Productions, released in 1998 as ''Palm mystery''.

The 17 tracks of the album were recorded both live and in studio at five different places around the Texas area.Musically the material doesn't differ much from what the listener met in ''Hands''.In fact ''Palm mystery'' strengthens the image of old US Prog bands as being way more complicated than the majority of the British ones regarding the Symphonic Rock genre.Hands comes as a mix of KANSAS, DIXIE DREGS, HAPPY THE MAN, YES and GENTLE GIANT, offering dense and highly professional Symphonic Rock with jazzy and Folk underlines, very interesting and complicated keyboard parts and heavy use of flutes, violins as well as sax and clarinet in specific occasions.''Palm mystery'' lacks the pair of monumental pieces of ''Hands'', but the music is again very progressive, challenging and intricate.The Classical influences prevail in most of the presented pieces with strong violin solos and clean vocals in the best KANSAS tradition, while the keyboard work is fascinating, much in the vein of RICK WAKEMAN during his days with YES, providing a powerful, symphonic background, supported by some beautiful acoustic piano.Flute parts are divided both in symphonic nature or delivering more rural soundscapes, especially when the acoustic guitars come in evidence.GENTLE GIANT and HAPPY THE MAN come in mind during the band's ability to combine Classical and Jazz inspirations in the same track, offering naughty instrumental plays and quirky twists.Once more the atmosphere ranges from melodramatic performances to a melancholic lyricism.

Not as superb as ''Hands'', but if these recordings could have been released in time, this would have been a shock (and certainly a failure regarding its sales).A band that denied to meet any new fashion and played adventurous Symphonic Rock till the dawn of the 80's.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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