The Hand

Meet...the Hand

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The brief debut album by the Hand -- a side project collaboration between Church of Betty's Chris Rael and Johnny Society's Kenny Siegal and Brian Geltner -- sounds like it was recorded over the course of a weekend in somebody's living room. (Actually, going by the cheapjack echo and reverb on the charmingly ramshackle cover of the Kinks' "Lazy Old Sun" that opens the album, most of the vocals were probably recorded in the bathroom.) Nicely split between Rael's psychedelic explorations (like the Indian-tinged "Cross of Gold") and the Feelies-like indie guitar pop of Siegal's songs, Meet...the Hand has a low-key, homemade charm akin to Yo La Tengo's early albums. Later albums like Second Hand and Sad Circus Clowns were more wide-ranging and better produced, but Meet...the Hand, with its offhanded casualness, is a more entertaining listen.