REVIEW: SEX HANDS – ‘PLEH’

Sharing a similar sonic terrain, a side of split 7”s, a record label and occasionally band members with the likes of Former Bullies, Waiters and Feel Right, fellow Manchester outfit, Sex Hands, have come forth with an album of funny, engaging fuzz-pop tunes that are imbued with the simple joy of creating art.

Having relocated to Manchester from North Wales the band combine both the grainy, northern soul aesthetic of their peers on the superb Icecapades label with the quirky songwriting of fellow Welsh oddballs Mowbird. After the minute and a half long instrumental abrasion of opener ‘Space Song’, the band settle into the hooky party starter ‘Flat Mate’, a track that sounds like The Clean’s ‘Tally Ho’ and Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘The Living End’ are fighting in a tumble drier. To be honest, that could describe the tone of the whole album, albeit with some twists and turns along the way. For instance, the garage doo-wop of lead single ‘Pivot’ and ‘Gay Marriage’, the irrepressible bounce of ‘Tommy’ and the somewhat more sinister drone of ‘The One Where the Stripper Cries’.

By contrast ‘On a Break’, with its yelped vocals and angular guitars is an adrenalized rock-rant that draws a direct line the from British punk explosion of the late 70’s to the present while ‘Hug and Roll’ comes closest to off-the-wall garage heroes, Thee Oh Sees, on Carrion Crawler/The Dream. ‘An Eight’ starts off with a chant that sounds like what would have happened if The Bonzo Dog Do Dah Band had gone properly lo-fi. Around the fifty second mark the song descends into twisting guitars that slowly build into a cacophonous, jerky stomp that brings the album to a close kicking and literally screaming.

Even if, when taking the album as a whole, the tracks lean towards the homogenous in terms of sound and dynamics, theres enough variety and plenty of fun to be had, the ideas encapsulated in the songs never outstaying their welcome.

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