Monday, February 21, 2011
Lost Classics-The Hidden Hand -'Mother Teacher Destroyer'
The lost art of psychedelia found a new home in 2004 when The Hidden Hand released their second full length record, the pivotal 'Mother, Teacher, Destroyer'.
This record saw the still rather young band of veterans mature a little in their writing. The previous release, 2003's 'Divine Propaganda' was about as punk-rock as modern psychedelia gets with angry anthems such as 'Screw the Naysayers' amongst the stand-out tracks. It none-the-less was clear that the proggy 'stoner' side of the record was most likely to be the direction of it's successor, and sure enough.....
'Mother, Teacher, Destroyer' is a bruiser of a record, make no mistake about it! It is an excellent blend of riffing, Melvinsesque solid drumming, intelligent production and power trio mentality. As I understand, unlike many of our good aule Uncle Wino's previous projects, he relinquished much creative control to bass player/producer Bruce Falkinburg (as evidenced by the prominent bass sound on all three records) but in doing so gave The Hidden Hand what is in my opinion the most distinctive sound of all of Wino's projects.
The record doesn't begin easy, it opens with 'The Crossing', a political stoner rock wrecking ball that ploughs it's way out of your unworthy stereo with guitar, bass, drums and vocals all blazing at once, your only warning before the onslaught being the brief inhalation from Bruce that can be heard one single second before the sky falls down! (Sound fuckin' cool or wha'?) The droning is broken just before the half-way point by a sinister riff that leads into one of Uncle Wino's trademark yet unpredictable sounding solos (something I dare any guitar player to define). Things get weirder and weirder the further we go, the third track 'Desensitized' was the first track the band ever wrote and it is simply a riff orgasm from start to finish, when played at the appropriate level one cannot move for the wall-to-wall riffs! At track five we have a fleeting chance to rest with 'Black Ribbon', a melancholy acoustic guitar passage introduces us to a sickly-sweet journey all it's own, one which feels much longer than those three and one half minutes in which it exists.
I could write a paragraph on every track on this record (and probably both other records too) however I'll limit myself to these three favourites of mine and allow you to experience things yourself. That being said this record is not easy to find. Amazon would be your best bet, or if you're like me, a trip to HMV on London's Oxford street.
This is that warm, fuzzy and hideously beautiful kind of music that just goes overlooked for all the wrong reasons. The kind of thing that fits perfectly into real life situations. Of course you should love music that you can dance in time to when stoned and pissed drunk in some sleazy Harcourt street club, but what of music that can make standing at the open end of Pearse Street DART station in your Army Bargains jacket facing high wind and light rain at half eleven at night seem magick? That is the power of this record for me.
Rest in Peace The Hidden Hand.
Edward Gerard Brophy.