Review: Human Hand ‘Tremor’

UK label Cardinal Fuzz has been responsible for some of the cooler, under the radar releases I’ve encountered in my time with The Sleeping Shaman. I’m at the point, where if I see a record being released under the Cardinal Fuzz umbrella, including Feeding Tube Records, it’s almost a sure thing that the record will be, at minimum, interesting, if not a sublime statement of heavy psych, and lo-fi rock & roll. Here, we have the debut record, Tremor, from Lancashire, UK instrumental trio/collective Human Hand.

Human Hand 'Tremor'

The core of Human Hand is guitarists Joe Hollick, and Karl Eden, who are joined in a live setting and on various tracks on by drummer Jonathan Dickin, as well as featuring drumming contributions from Andrew Hargreaves, underscoring the band’s stated musical collective intent. Evidently, Human Hand began as an improv act, and the loose, jam-y feel is evident throughout Tremors. Opener Pre Teeth features some light guitar work, and mild volume swells, that give way to the driving, mildly bouncy Teeth. Featuring some awesome guitar tone and a nice interplay between Hollick and Eden, as well as some killer dynamics. Teeth highlights all sorts of build-ups, and break downs, complimented by clean tones. To call it a musical journey isn’t hyperbole, and we’re just getting started.

Triffid once more puts on a vivid display of the band’s dynamic. Here, we have more killer-tripped-out guitar interplay between Hollick and Eden as they weave a clean tone, with some tasty, proto-metal and riffing to exceptional effect. As well, Johnathan Dickin’s drums really hold the whole thing together, and his well-timed cymbal crashes add to the aforementioned dynamics. The title track, Tremor, serves as a well-sequenced effects interlude, that gives way to the album centerpiece, the pounding, noisy, Tyrant. Dickin’s drumming once again is the anchor, his pounding beat, and crashes hold the entire thing down, allowing Hollick and Eden to freak the fuck out, conjuring all sorts of heavy psych alchemy with volume swells, massive riffs, and effects.

heavy psych alchemy with volume swells, massive riffs, and effects…

The penultimate Tern, with its soft, clean, dueling guitars invoke an early morning, mellow vibe, punctuated by the chirping birds in the background. Eden takes his turn behind the drum kit on Tern, moving the mellow song along with some light snare work. Are we using brushes here? Tremor closes with the epic Troth, a trippy, psychedelic, piece that once again puts Hollick and Eden’s stellar guitar interplay to the forefront, as Human Hand put the ‘psych’ in ‘heavy psych’ throughout the six-plus minute finale. I must mention that every song begins with a ‘T’, although I could not find any deeper meaning behind it during my research, but it does add to the overall trippy, psychedelic nature of the album.

Tremors was recorded over two days, post-covid lockdown, and, according to Human Hand’s Bandcamp page was ‘created using instant composition’, and if I’m reading that correctly, this whole thing was done improv-style and off the cuff, making the album even more impressive. Tremors is a really cool, trippy, psychedelic instrumental record, that I enjoyed and absorbed late at night. It’s one of those records, a late-night album, a road trip album, that I’m sure will be in heavy rotation when I find myself in these situations.

Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube have dropped yet another killer release, and we’re still in the first month of 2023. I’ve already experienced three great releases from these labels, in the first few weeks of 2023, and I’m excited to hear what’s next. Recommended.

Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Feeding Tube Records
Band Links: Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams