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The Black Hands: Electric Premier Theatre

Ten years it took to come to fruition, but it’s finally been achieved. It’s called Electric Premiere Theatre and it took a decade between The Black Hands forming and this, their debut album, to see the light of day. The band themselves describe it as their Chinese Democracy, but I suppose the difference is that they haven’t had their Appetite For Destruction prior to that. The four lads behind this tale of woe and winning are from Chesterfield in England, a town best know for being, well in England. Doubtless I’m missing a trick here but from the top of my head I can’t quite remember another Chesterfield outfit, but no matter, The Black Hands sound like they come from The Midlands (maybe Chesterfield is there? It isn’t…) and The South, by that I mean America, not Brighton… Usually Crowes hurtling headlong into a Zeppelin would be the cause for disaster but when the former are Black and the latter made of Led, well, that’s a different outlook altogether.

Maybe, considering how long it’s taken them to get to where they are it should be no surprise that there’s a slow build from silence into an outburst for opener “House Of Cards” but then neither is there any sign of it coming tumbling down. It really has to be said that guitarist Daniel Riley is desperate, maybe just a little too desperate, to show off his Jimmy Page licks, but that he can, with ease, should also be acknowledged, especially when they sound this natural. For me, it’s “Grape And The Grain” a warning of the dangers of swigging the wine and whiskey together, that sticks longest in the mind, the easy groove almost feeling like a less abrasive Clutch - an aspect merely heightened when singer Andy Gannon gets a little preachy mid-song.

If Riley is worshipping at the alter of Mr Page, then drummer Ben Atkins and bassist/keyboard player (can you say John Paul Jones anyone??) Joe Hayes are equally fixated on the same band, although it’s the earlier tight but loose version that comes furthest to the fore on the likes of “God Loves A Trier”. While “Experienced Blues”, which comes in two parts, does add a little more honk to the tonk and take things in a slightly different direction in its first incarnation; its second playing much more closely to type. The jangle of piano in “Heavy Load” takes things more into the domain of the Crowes, but with a more authentically blues stance, while it’s actually The Rolling Stones and their jack who jumped in a flash that grins widely on the album closer “You Gotta Move”.

It’s been a long time coming and it has to said that it’s been worth the wait. I can’t pretend that Electric Premiere Theatre offers much you wouldn’t expect and yet what it does provide is done very well indeed. Personally, however, I would have liked to have heard just a smidge more of The Black Hands and just the teensiest pinch less of their influences. As debuts go, however, this is impressive.

Track Listing
1. House of Cards
2. Grape and the Grain
3. That Ain't the Way
4. Experienced Blues (part 1)
5. 45
6. High Times (Bright Lights)
7. God Loves a Trier (But He Don't Love Me)
8. Straight and Narrow
9. Experienced Blues (part 2)
10. Heavy Load
11. You Gotta Move

Added: May 25th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Black Hands online
Hits: 771
Language: english

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