Band of the Day

2012.04.03

Phenomenal Handclap Band

Psych-soul astronauts with a flair for funky grooves
All these questions and suggestions at the savings and loan, we're speaking loudly and we're clearly on a megaphone.
lyrics from 15 To 20

The Phenomenal Handclap Band is a small collective of musicians based in New York City. The core of the collective is Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand, a DJ and production duo who began writing material together. They incorporated their musical friends into the project, eventually coalescing around a group including Patrick Wood, Luke O'Malley, Quinn Luke, Nick Moyshon, Laura Marin and Joan Tick. Combing elements of disco, soul and rock, and a cosmic psychedelic sensibility, the collective blew up dance floors and speakers around the world with their breakout hit “15 to 20” on their 2009 self-titled debut released on Friendly Fire Recordings. After a nearly three year gap, the group returned with their sophomore album Form & Control, another dance floor friendly collection of genre spanning tunes, which was released on Tummy Touch records.

The Phenomenal Handclap band is a New York City collective of musicians who aren't trying to change the world, unless changing the world involves getting you to dance and have an awesome time. Since their 2009 debut album, the group's been making genre bending dance tunes with grooves pumped full of soul, disco, and rock. Watch their breakout 2009 video for “15 to 20” and you'll see what looks like eight seasoned partiers decked out in 70s gear, very seriously roaming the streets of New York looking as cool as possible. The operative word for this bunch is, without a doubt, “groove.” With the energy rarely peaking or dropping, their music seems engineered to manufacture maximum groove -they're laser focused on getting in the pocket and riding that funky wave. Like much of the album, opening track “Following” is a sleek synthesis of house, rock, and vintage 70s disco/soul flair. Beginning with a robotic vocoder shadow added to Laura Marin's ultra cool vocals and a steady, sauntering beat, they slowly add layers of bongo, sweeping synth pads and funky noodles of lead guitar. “Shake” is the kind of track that sneaks up on you on with its graceful hooks on record, but probably commands feverish dancing live. The band sets out their signature steady groove and steers it towards an electro-pop voyage of spacy keyboard stabs and atmospherics. Marin busts out the hooks in the chorus, trading lines with a squelching synth backed by hip shaking guitar. Form & Control won't blow your mind, but it doesn't need to. This collection of rock solid psych-soul will be welcome on the dance floor or anywhere tight grooves are needed.