Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 10/31/2006
Second Hand Smoke
posted on 12/2006 By:
Another difficult review, so I’ll try to keep it brief. The duo of Jason Mischel (drums, bass, keys) and Mark Duda (guitar, vocals) lays down a pretty regulation style of classically inspired hard rock on The Handful’s follow-up to their very good debut album, Palmistry. It’s a decent disc if you’re really into this type of music, but for those of us with only a passing interest in this kind of gritty hard rock, we might want to hold on to our pennies for a while.
Second Hand Smoke sounds highly derivative of bands I listened to as a kid--The Who, some Creedence, a ton of Bad Company, maybe a bit of ZZ Top. This isn’t a terrible album, however it does overstay its welcome at 14 tracks without giving much of a variety among the different tunes. Duda does an admirable job trying to show some vocal versatility, hitting a couple clean high notes that I honestly wish he hadn’t, but his normal full-on rock singing is his biggest strength as a singer.
To be blunt, The Handful remind me of the bar bands who play at the taverns nestled between antique shops, coffee houses, and other various fancy craft stores on the classic Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri, who also sound a great deal like The Who, CCR, etc. They can play their instruments well (Jason is a damn solid drummer), and once you’ve had about six beers, a few shots and a quick trip outside to fire up a one-hitter, they actually sound pretty damn rockin’. Heard sober and on CD, they’re also enjoyable, but you certainly won’t be their fifth biggest fan the same way you were a couple nights before when jamming to them with whiskey and herb ears. That’s really the best way I can describe them.
Duda and Mischel stick very close to the classic hard rock formula of uptempo, riff-heavy grooves, intermingled with 70’s police drama theme music, and slower numbers full of swagger, attitude, and drawl. Unfortunately, the songwriting is very basic, uneventful, and totally dated despite being performed with a bit of noticeable energy. Their first album is actually a little better and more interesting than the more casual Second Hand Smoke, but if you’re already a fan of the band, there’s nothing here that will turn you off. A very vanilla rock album that I really can’t recommend going out of your way to obtain unless you’ve already checked out their website and sample tunes, because if you’ve heard two songs off this, you’ve heard ‘em all.
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