Phenominal Handclap Band, Form & Control [Tummy Touch]

As one of the latest rag-tag dance-rock collectives to emerge from Brooklyn’s hipster hotbed, PHB gets high marks for its perversely complex songs and the slick musicianship needed to nail them.
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As one of the latest rag-tag dance-rock collectives to emerge from Brooklyn’s hipster hotbed, PHB gets high marks for its perversely complex songs and the slick musicianship needed to nail them. Solidly in the mix is Emily Panic, whose P-Bass tone and attack recalls Grace Jones-era Robbie Shakespeare and Tom Tom Club-ish Tina Weymouth, but with the flexibility to bust a Turkish psych line (in the cosmically prog “The Written Word”) or a fine slice of boogie rock (on the harddriving “Winter Falls”). In fact, music this technically demanding—and this steeped in wacky effects and quirky arrangements— comes across at times as a modern revamp of Gong (the mid-’70s Mike Howlett version, of course). It takes a steady hand on bass to hold all that together, and Panic pulls it off with preternatural ease.

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