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   Half-Handed Cloud review


Half-Handed Cloud
Thy Is A Word + Feet Need Lamps (2005, Asthmatic Kitty)

Half-Handed Cloud is comprised of one John Ringhofer. Thy is a Word +
Feet Need Lamps
is an album full of wacky little psych pop ditties. Take Sufjan Stevens’ broad instrumentation, Of Montreal’s quirky song
structure, and some very rich Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies, yet somehow keeping it as minimalist as possible and you have an idea of what Half-Handed Cloud is all about. In fact, Sufjan even plays some drum overdubbing on this album. There are slight Christian undertones in a few of his lyrics, but don’t let that fool you. Ringhofer is still able to sweep you off your feet with nothing more than a melody line and a tiny little guitar part.

If ADD had a theme song, Half-Handed Cloud would play it. The songs
change up so quickly you’ll think you’ve listened to at least 10 songs in
the course of just one or two minutes. Even so, while most of the songs tend to be quite short, they manage to feel quite a bit longer than they actually are. For instance, on 'Ezekiel Bread' the music changes times and tones so quickly you’ll be shocked to realize that it’s even the same song. Also, it almost seems like he never uses the same instrument twice on the album.

Towards the middle of the album, coherent songs give way to snippets of gorgeous pop hooks intermixed with noise collages. 'Quail' is a perfect example of this. However, just when you think it’s going to be a bunch of psychedelic noise, Ringhofer comes through with arguably the best and most consistent tracks on the album. 'Disaster Will Come Upon You & You Will Not Know How to Conjure It Away' is definitely one of the most stunning pieces of work Ringhofer does.

With just a slight wink and a nod at Brian Wilson, Half-Handed Cloud
takes a premise and runs with it. At times beautiful, at times just
crazy, and always intelligent, Ringhofer is a master of writing delicious
sugar-coated psychedelic pop. This album has a lot of solid ideas to
bring to the table, but you’ll miss it if you’re not quick.

-John Hall 9/21/05

 

 

 

 

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