The Texas band Hands can be traced back to the mid-seventies when they released their self-titled debut album, which was reissued in the late nineties by the label Shroom Records. This led to a renewed interest in the band by both fans and the band itself with archival releases “Palm Mystery” and ”The Early Years 1974-76“. I would gather that those releases prompted the band to finally release a follow-up in 2002, “ Twenty Five Winters”. Unfortunately for me, I can’t comment on these releases simply because I don’t own any of them…yet.
In 2008, Hands released a brand new album called “Strangelet“, with only two original members of the band left: Michael Clay ( keyboards, guitars and sax) and Ernie Myers (singer and guitarist). Joining them are Warr guitar player Mark Cook, John Fiveash (drums), Martin McCall (percussion) and Steve Powell (bass, guitars, keyboards, backing vocals)
The music on Strangelet is one of the most dynamic and current sounding progressive rock band that I’ve heard in a long while. They seem to have been keeping up with the new progressive rock bands, thus giving their own fresh take on the music, that can and will appeal to fans of classic and new progressive rock. I hear so many influences on this album but in a nutshell, I imagined a sound that combines what Happy The Man, Yes and King Crimson has done along with newer bands like The Underground Railroad and Echolyn. Now this is only my take on the music, others may hear differently, but it’s a basic idea that gives a small glimpse of the band’s new sound.
While the entire album is amazing from start to finish, the highlights for me are “Dark Matter” and “Miracles Of The Mind”. I found this to be a surprise entry in the 2008 releases. I honestly wasn’t expecting it. I’m glad it showed up and I plan on venturing into Hands’ past glories soon.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on September 15th, 2008