The Black Hands – Electric. Premier. Theatre. (Self Released)
Is this the best debut by a British rock band in a decade? Possibly.
Not since killer Anglo-Scots crew The Temperance Movement burst onto the scene with 2013’s exceptional self-titled debut has the Rushonrock team been so excited by a blast of brand new homegrown rock. But Electric. Premier. Theatre. sounds like a record built to eclipse even that devilishly good disc.
Where to start? Well, High Times (Bright Lights) is as good a place as any. At this month’s album launch show in Sheffield, frontman Andy Gannon insisted the stripped down ballad took him way out of his comfort zone but the exact opposite seems true. It’s inspirational stuff and the voice behind The Black Hands delivers every word with a compelling sense of authenticity and steadfast belief in his own ability. More of the same really wouldn’t go amiss.
But Gannon may well be happier belting out the big numbers with a nod to Paul Rodgers, Robert Plant and Jay Buchanan. His impressive pipes belong in the mid 70s and yet, like Buchanan, he manages to sound like the modern-day saviour of roots, bluesy, classic rock. How on earth The Black Hands and their charismatic frontman have yet to break free from the underground is an impossibly vexing question. This lot should be front centre on Later…With Jools Holland and all over Glastonbury, Ramblin’ Man and more.
The Free-meets-Skynyrd groove underpinning God Loves A Trier is intoxicating and the classy keys at the heart of Heavy Load lift a complex and compelling track to an intense new level. The Black Hands aren’t afraid to cut loose in their quest for fresh creativity and fast forwarding to this glorious tapestry of sounds is a canny move.
Daniel Riley never fails to deliver as the dextrous six-stringer casually flits between styles and it’s no exaggeration to describe rhythm section Joe Hayes and Ben Atkins as a later day Fraser and Kirke. They’re that good.
This dazzling debut has been a decade in the making and it shows. Electric. Premier. Theatre. isn’t a throwaway punt at long overdue recognition – it’s a full-blown statement of devastating intent that should, in all honesty, swiftly set one of the finest quartets in the country on a collision course with mainstream recognition and critical acclaim.
The Black Hands are white hot.