The Phenomenal Handclap Band have generated a huge buzz, and with an album like this as their introduction to most of the world, it’s no wonder. A wide array of multi-tasking band members gives PHB the ability to emulate one of the major elements of the band’s genesis – club, dance, and DJ music – while inviting sounds of all stripes to the affair. With producers-turned-songwriters Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand leading the way, the assemblage of musicians create a willfully sweaty atmosphere that is alternately cartoonish and subversive. The album practically begs to be listened to on a turntable, preferably in a room lit by red light and filled with smoke. A sultry, druggy thread runs through the band’s analog-era sound, and their soul and funk influences are spiked with modern dance touches, percussive world rhythms, and the perfect amount of electronic interference. If it sounds like a whole hunk of fun, it is – this one could be the soundtrack to a sunny 80-degree day as well as it could provide the backdrop for an indulgent party that goes until dawn. Fun numbers like “Baby,” with it’s lush orchestral-pop sound, and the groovy “Give It A Rest” are vintage reinvented, while tracks like “The Martyr” and “The Circle is Broken” defy easy description. The way that the band incorporates afro-pop, 70’s wah-rock, psychedelic exploration, and soul into one mind’s eye-popping organism is truly irresistible. The NYC octet’s self-titled disc is infinitely pleasurable, and there’s almost no sect of the population that won’t enjoy or at least appreciate the band’s super-fly, globe-trotting soul grooves.
Recommended if you like: The New Mastersounds, The Budos Band, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, !!!, Sly and the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, funk, soul, psychedelic rock, 60’s rock, 70’s rock, hip-hop, dance