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Feeling Hands

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Album Review

In comparison to the Mattson 2's debut EP, this full-length album is something of a disappointment. On Introducing the Mattson 2, the guitar-and-drums brother duo explored a wide variety of sounds and styles that coalesced roughly around a sort of avant-jazz center with jungle and Latin influences. Feeling Hands, on the other hand, seems to be mostly informed by surf music. Jared Mattson's guitar playing is twangy and generally quite fun, and his command of multiple old-school jazz and pop genres is impressive. Jonathan Mattson's drumming is also impressive, but you really have to strain to hear it; for some inexplicable reason, the drums are buried in the mix and oddly muted, as if to re-create the sound of poorly miked drum kits from recordings of the 1950s and '60s. That kind of gimmick might be fun on a track or two, but over the course of a whole album, it starts feeling like an annoying affectation. There are some very fine moments on Feeling Hands: "Give Inski's" is fun and funky (and features some excellent bass playing by Tommy Guererro), and both "Black Rain" and the surfy ballad "Spaceman 2" are genuinely beautiful. But most of the album is recorded so strangely that it comes off sounding amateurish, and the broad stylistic palette that made their debut such a pleasure is disappointingly constrained here.

Feeling Hands, The Mattson 2
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