Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SEX HANDS Season 1

The ‘zine quality, single colour cover with grinning skulls pasted on to heads of the cast of “Friends” suggests diehard DIY movement. Then the music of Sex Hands confirms it or rather screams it: clanging guitars, sludgy drums, distorted, shouted vocals are all lost in the murky, head-pummelling noise. Everything about “Season 1” suggests hastily assembled cassette release home recording. It was in fact “recorded by Patrick Crane in 2011” - but clearly with the aim of capturing raw abrasiveness rather than nuanced sonic clarity - and is released at name-your-price via Bandcamp (“it’s fine to put zero in there - we won’t judge ya”). There is melody and jangle and more here too – plus a cover of New Zealand’s The Clean – but all lies shrouded in various shades of no-fi murk.

‘Parker’ yokes a hippy-trippy 60s freak-beat swing to garage-rock bludgeon. In ‘Janice’ math-rock churn with a hint of warped Beefheart blues sits under barked tannoy announcement vocals - but sludgy no-fi wins out again. There is a melodic chug to ‘Jingle Bitch’ despite the wailing vocal despair but again more of that sludgy no-fi. The band claim “these are songs about Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe”. ‘Rembrandts’ with its “I’ll be there for you” vocal refrain is the most explicit reference despite sounding filled with bleak desperation rather than the cosy unity of the show’s theme music but other than these fleeting references or character names as song titles I really can’t hear this. But the angry, head-pounding caterwaul of Sex Hands is exactly the reaction I have to the smugness of that long-running TV series so maybe there’s a deeper truth at work here.

The latter half of this eight track mini-album has less impact as the rickety punk flail becomes familiar or when the instrumental shredding guitar duelling of ‘Jam Sandwich’ stretches itself too thin. It finishes with the surprisingly almost-triumphant, quasi-indie-rock swagger (still buried in no-fi murk) of ‘The Moist Maker’. It’s a closing statement that makes you want to punch the air rather than say punch the faces of the cast of a US TV show. “Season 1” is over in 27 minutes but is one series that has episodes definitely worth re-running. The next live outing for Sex Hands is Sunday 19 February on a seven band bill of fellow-travellers from Manchester and beyond with Pheromoans headlining. Kicks off at 5pm with tickets just £4 in advance.

Parker by SEX HANDS

Sex Hands Season 1 [BUY]

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