Ten Hands

Kung Fu...That's What I Like

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    8
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Vibrant and occasionally brilliant club rock from this Denton, TX, band. Kung Fu...That's What I Like sports several of Ten Hands' signature tunes, arranged and produced better here than anywhere else. The only studio release by the band to capture adequately the mayhem they let loose in their live shows, Kung Fu sees Slavens and company firing on all pistons. Chapman stick ace Muller lays down a throbbing groove throughout, while Slavens' gravely throat conjures up more intonations in a 30-second span than Mel Blanc. Syncopated snares and bongos foam at the mouth, specifically on the percussion-only "Bushlock Sadie." The band establishes their penchant for Zappa-esque absurdism halfway through a few songs that break down unexpectedly into a drum, bass, and synth jam session, with Slavens speaking in tongues in an impossible meter. "I Was Confused (About the Televison Set)" and "The Greenhouse Effect" spell out Ten Hands' political raison d'ĂȘtre, the latter being an outright diatribe. The madness stops only briefly for the moving piano ballad "Old Eyes." At seven tunes and 34 minutes, Kung Fu is brief, but it's a tasty little morsel. It's a reminder that party music can have a message, and it's a testament as to why these guys should have been bigger than their most famous contemporaries, the Butthole Surfers.

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