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Mighty Handful, The: Touchy Subjects

Although it, for the large part, crept in under the radar, Still Sitting In Danny’s Car - an album which was released as 5 EPs, has been a real musical highlight of the last few years for me. A wildly eclectic, conceptual piece that weaved everything from NWOBHM with prog and funk and punk and pop and rock and… well, you get the idea, the results were remarkably well realised and cohesive for what, in lesser hands, should have been something of a car crash (that’s an in joke for those who know the story running through the EPs…). Hence, it should be not too much of a surprise that with the follow up album - released as an actual album this time round - The Mighty Handful have, at least to some extent, sought to streamline operations. Based more obviously in a 70s hard rock setting and with thematically linked, but not conceptually bound, songs, that’s not to suggest that TMH aren’t still pushing at boundaries and keen to stretch themselves in how they present what is another truly rounded experience.

Sitting in a mid-paced reverie, “I Knew Your Game” is a daring opener, an almost grimy, dirty, cop-show theme employed as the linking topic of the human race’s less salubrious traits is instantly explored. As the title suggests we’re looking here at underhand tactics, deceit and untrustworthy practices, although compared to some tracks presented, we’re still playing it safe. “Kenneth” on the other hand deserves a good hard slap - although he might just like that! It’s a brave move to take this funky bass driven groovester into almost full on theatric narration interspersed with the character driven vocal style of Matt Howes. The protagonist of this track is pure sleaze, as he leers over women, misses the point of equality in a variety of ways and slavers over questionably sexual deviations. This character sure ain’t likeable but he sure is believable… unfortunately. “Same Old Story”, as a few cuts can, takes us into Bowie storytelling territory, as acoustic guitar strums out a lament that Christopher James Harrison pinpricks with a colourful, tasteful solo as Touchy Subjects displays in one fell swoop just how eclectic it can be. “Good Luck Getting Laid” is almost vintage Alice Cooper like in its litheness as a surge of keys plays neatly off some excellently poised percussive forays. Whereas “For The World Is Hollow” somehow finds a tone that wouldn’t have been out of place if Coheed & Cambria had been born in the late 60s.

With all of these aspects laid bare in a style that truly feels authentic, believable and sincere, while there’s no doubt that The Mighty Handful are pulling on their influences for inspiration here, they do so in a way that allows the results to be fully owned by themselves. If you’re looking for a quick fix, then arguably The Mighty Handful may never be for you. However, if you want to dig deep, be presented with music honest enough to hold a mirror up to us and yet be thoroughly and enjoyably entertained throughout, then it’s undoubtedly time to talk about those Touchy Subjects.

Track Listing
1. I Knew Your Game
2. Godawful Small Affair
3. Distant As The Stars
4. Kenneth
5. Same Old Story
6. Just You Wait
7. Good Luck Getting Laid
8. Relentless
9. For The World is Hollow
10. Sculptress

Added: October 3rd 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Touchy Subjects @ The Merch Desk
Hits: 1105
Language: english

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