The Phenomenal Handclap Band

Album Review of The Phenomenal Handclap Band by The Phenomenal Handclap Band.

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The Phenomenal Handclap Band

The Phenomenal Handclap Band

The Phenomenal Handclap Band by The Phenomenal Handclap Band

Release Date: Jun 23, 2009
Record label: Friendly Fire
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Dance

67 Music Critic Score
How the Music Critic Score works

The Phenomenal Handclap Band - Fairly Good, Based on 7 Critics

New Musical Express (NME) - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

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The Guardian - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Here's a Tardis of a record, with the controls set squarely for the very heart of 1972. The Phenomenal Handclap Band – a loose amalgam of musicians brought together by New York DJs Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand – operate at a point on the spectrum somewhere between Pink Floyd and the Blackbyrds, to produce a kind of space funk dripping with retro-futurism. That makes it sound less appetising than it is: in fact this is a party album, whose two centrepieces – the proto-disco drone of You Disappear, and the playground chant of 15 to 20 – are irresistible invitations on to the floor.

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Entertainment Weekly - 65
Based on rating B-
65

Phenomenal? Well, not quite. Led by one dude called Medicine Man and another known as Witch Doctor, this coed New York combo makes lovingly detailed replicas of the kind of sweeping disco-soul productions that once made people all over the world join hands and start a love train. The PHB’s sense of style is spot-on; check out the trippy? space-funk groove on ”Testimony,” which features guest guitar work from Jaleel Bunton of TV on the Radio.

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Pitchfork - 62
Based on rating 6.2/10
62

You get about 90 seconds' warning before the groove deepens on the Phenomenal Handclap Band's self-titled debut LP. And from there, is it ever on: 65 minutes of slightly spacy live-band psych-disco, Hawkwind jamming with Isaac Hayes with percussion from the Incredible Bongo Band. If that sounds like a party, well, it is a party; you'll want to grab a drink and do your damndest to have a good time.

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Drowned In Sound - 60
Based on rating 6/10
60

How much trust can you put in a band when their first big creative decision - their name - is a stinker? And what if the record sleeve is terrible too? The Phenomenal Handclap Band, the name, is surely a play on The Incredible String Band - and not a very funny one at that. Rightly or wrongly, there's so much music available now that people make snap decisions on what's worth trying, and I can't help but feel that The Phenomenal Handclap Band have given themselves hurdles before they've even recorded a note. Nobody needs another Polyphonic Spree right now, you might fairy think, so let's try something else.

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PopMatters - 50
Based on rating 5/10
50

This loose, eight-person downtown collective makes music that’s so post-genre it’s almost futile to describe. Still, it’s clear that Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand, the group’s main songwriters and ex-DJs, have a deep and wide-ranging musical appetite. It ranges from psychedelica to disco to funk, with a strong overlay of prog that gives these leisurely songs its esoteric air.

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BBC Music
Their review was generally favourable

The New York group tightens its sound with mixed results. Marcus J. Moore 2012 In 2009, The Phenomenal Handclap Band’s self-titled debut album dripped with agitated ambition. Though chastised by some critics, it was a set which left the listener never knowing what to expect from the multidimensional New York band, as the recording reached for alt-rock, disco, and electro-pop – sometimes all in the same song.

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