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Form & Control

Form & Control

by The Phenomenal Handclap Band The Phenomenal Handclap Band


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Push play on the oddly named N.Y.C.-based Phenomenal Handclap Band's sophomore release and be transported back to the early-'80s dance-art-pop glory days of the Human League, OMD, and Heaven 17, among many others. The bass bounces, the knowingly dated synths buzz and whirl, and the male/female vocals sing with icy yet sexy detachment. Real (not synthesized) drums, guitars, and bass slather it all with a refreshingly organic buzz that doesn't seem retro as much as honest and full-bodied, if not exactly emotional. Surprises abound, such as the near-classical solo piano that closes "The Right One." Even though there is no escaping the creeping strains of disco, the songs exude singalong melodies and bubbling bass that, somewhat like Blondie, keeps the tracks vibrant, alive, and lyrically compelling even as the beats encourage dancefloor participation. Bryan Ferry gave the outfit his blessing by having them open his 2011 summer tour and while the music doesn't approximate his cool, artsy romanticism, there are clear parallels to some of his previous work circa Roxy Music's Manifesto as well as a good bit of New Order. But this is more lighthearted, especially because of the two female lead singers and the dry Phil Oakey-style male singer who trade off vocals. There's some Tom Tom Club, too, especially in the bone-dry vocals, but the six-piece is better at mixing funk, art rock, glam, disco, and even experimental tendencies together to form something fresh, lively, yet clearly referenced by the sound and style of 1980-1983 indie dance. The six-piece invited numerous guests to assist on their previous set, but this is more of a cohesive group project and the difference in comfort and synergy between the members is evident. Even some solid rock riffs, such as the one that leads off "Winter Falls," sneak into the band's unusual dynamic. The drumming that helps ground it all is elastic and malleable, making this follow-up a more successful and well-rounded album that seems to be just the beginning of something really good.

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Product Details

Release Date: 02/14/2012
Label: Tummy Touch
UPC: 0881626944424
catalogNumber: 2035
Rank: 163322


  1. Following
  2. The Right One
  3. The Written Word
  4. The Unknown Faces at Father James Park
  5. Shake
  6. Form & Control
  7. Give
  8. Afterglow
  9. Winter Falls
  10. All Cliches
  11. Mirrors
  12. The Attempt

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Phenomenal Handclap Band   Primary Artist
Tim "Love" Lee   Synthesizer,Mini Moog,CS-80,Juno,Arp 2600,Oberheim OB8,Prophet 5,Prophet 600
Daniel Collas   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Marimbas,Vocals,Vibes
Diane Birch   Electric Piano,Vocals
Bing Ji Ling   Synthesizer,Guitar,Vocals
Patrick Wood   Drums,Vocals
Sean Marquand   Synthesizer,Electric Piano,Mellotron,Vocoder
Laura Marin   Percussion,Vocals
Pier Pappalardo   Bass
Michael Johnson   Synthesizer,Mini Moog,CS-80,Juno,Arp 2600,Oberheim OB8,Prophet 5,Prophet 600
Luke O'Malley   Guitar,Saz,Sitar,Fuzz Bass
Robert McFarlane   Synthesizer,Mini Moog,CS-80,Juno,Arp 2600,Oberheim OB8,Prophet 5,Prophet 600

Technical Credits

Tom Sarig   Management
Tim "Love" Lee   Programming,Engineer
Daniel Collas   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Richard Woodcraft   Engineer,Additional Production
Kari Dexter   Management
Bing Ji Ling   Arranger,Composer
Sean Marquand   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Michael Johnson   Programming,Engineer
Luke O'Malley   Arranger
Douglas Lee   Artwork
Robert McFarlane   Programming

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