HAND- Little heartaches GP1023LP (USA 2015)
Long revered by acid-folk advocates for the beatific, melodious introversion of their 1972 album Everybody’s Own, Hand were at that point a cadre of Switzerland-based teenage friends, unified by the compositions of Marc Osborne and Tony Angier. The 40th-anniversary reissue of their album was so uniformly well received that four of the original members reunited for a celebratory snifter in Lausanne in 2012. Despite Angier’s untimely death in 1996, Osborne was subsequently encouraged to assemble a fresh line-up of Hand, including original harmonica archimage Nick Zoullas. The first fruit of this renascence was last year’s The Other Side Of The World; the fact that Little Heartaches follows so closely testifies to Osborne’s renewed creative fecundity, plus an eagerness to make up for decades of lost time. What ensues is a whirling, impassioned update of the Rolling Thunder Revue’s temper and textures, with Zoullas’ harmonica, Libai Jordan’s violin and Mariel Yaghsizian’s torchy lead vocal all fervently trading prominence at the top of the mix. Osborne may be content to see out his late renaissance on the margins, but it would only take one doughty programme controller to appropriate the title track – an indomitable Rose Of Cimarron update – or the sweetly insistent In Disarray for Hand to boss daytime radio schedules. Limited to 500 copies on vinyl.