THE HAND TO MAN BAND – You Are Always On Our Minds


On the far side of unserviceable tittle-tattle, you can get an excellent account about everything concerning how The Hand To Man Band was born and their working methods in this interview.

The record was taped in 2010, with the proclaimed purpose of seeing what happened between musicians coming from quite diverse backgrounds. Tim Barnes, John Dieterich, Thollem McDonas and Mike Watt have tried to commingle their instrumental abilities and respective capacities of conceiving strange music outright, and they did it rather successfully. Mixing sonic abstraction, pure improvisation, warped humor, acid sweat and harmonic randomness within a peculiar sort of songwriting, the seventeen chapters of You Are Always On Our Minds should attract various types of audience, perhaps including sensitive punks, Beefheart-to-Zoogz Rift old farts and selected collectors of absurdities (check “They Pretty Right”, then email me a valid comparison).

A psychedelic brew leaking here and there was also noticed: more than once I was reminded of early Pink Floyd with added improvisational itchiness (“Voice Thrower” comes to mind) – and there’s even a pair of episodes in which the orchestration appears prearranged (for example, in “Semina System”). I would be lying if I told you that all is impeccable – thinking about the mild mess of “Occasional Cracker” – but on the other hand it was not meant to be. Still, one can clearly hear the quartet looking for a way out amidst cluttered cul-de-sacs in some places. Elsewhere, as in “All Us Konked”, a simple ingredient such as an infirm guitar fragment constitutes the origin of a swim across viscidly unresolved syrups.

Overall, a good album, especially for its unpredictability. Give it a serious try – it flows inside your body and brain little by little, with satisfactory effects.

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