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The Bad Hand

This Is No Time for Modesty

(Pranskter Dice; US: 25 Aug 2006; UK: Available as import)

The record company claims “The drummer simply has a unique style of his own.” Better than a unique style that’s somebody else’s? He’s named there as David Addison, the guitarist as Tony Amato, and Korben Dallas the performer on ‘Rhodes piano’. Daly City Records’ website notes that the band personnel names listed on the Bad Hand website are drawn from the names of characters Bruce Willis has acted on film. How did anybody remember any of these names?


Daly City add that the band “like to switch things up a lot by adding other instruments and guests to their line up.”  The press copy goes on to claim that “viscous guitar rhythms” (eh?) “blend beautifully with the eerie and delicate sound of the Rhodes.” And then, “He changes it up as often as possible…” Who’s he? What’s it? He’s presumably a member of this “rad new trio from San Francisco.” Forget it!


At least “something fun and different” is an intelligible phrase for the music on the white vinyl album I didn’t accept the invite to ask for nicely, and early, etc. I’ve still never seen a white vinyl album, and I’ve no idea why that format was used. The CD Rom sent me matches the sound reported by an on-line review that implies possession of the vinyl. I should mention that.


Guitar and Rhodes “blend” on tracks one and two? They merge in distortion. That goes away until some way through track three, after some pretty tinkling, then tinkling without distortion, then distortion (with a lady’s voice audible). Rock licks, bluesy licks, section A, section B, reprise section A, reprise section B. They do that a lot. Track five’s presumably background noise, rounded off with a chorus on comb and paper; track six is a bass vamp in which electric guitar (with distortion) joins, drums going all the time, then background conversation replaces the guitar during a bass chorus. Ends with a pretty guitar chord, then some ominous distortionised guitar and another vamp. Then another reprise of sections.


Track ten, “Lo Ha”, is mandolin, fiddle, and guitar—a straight pastoral sort of thing, not blues, not cowboy, not Celtic, not at all bad. “How to Know When” begins literally with a telephone call, then booming waltzing guitar, from behind which the telephone call resumes audibily only to be swamped by heavy metal. It’s audible again during the group’s simulacrum of fairground noises, and an electronic flute is back there piping through guitar distortion wild. Oh!


The final track seems to have been compiled by variously speeding up and slowing back a tape of a conversation. Thirty-six seconds, not one too many. ‘Unpretentious’ seems to be a standard response among reviewers, and might be fair. ‘Unambitious musically’ certainly is. Presumably fun was served by titles named “En Attenant de Baiser”, though “Then He Tried to Kiss Me” suggests it should have been Attendant. I found it fairly relaxing at first, then drift, drift, drift. ‘Indie Garage Rock’ is mentioned on the website, which seems a focus of considerable activity from which I can’t that easily detach the word adolescent. Oh, well.

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