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Prism — Live 75-77
(Shroom Productions SP-97002, 1977/1997, CD)

by Mike Ohman, Published 1998-02-01

Live 75-77 Cover art

It's always nice when some previously undiscovered gem is unearthed and released for all to enjoy. Basically, Prism and Hands are the same band, a Texas-based prog-rock group incorporating violin and flute. The band changed the name to Hands presumably when they discovered that there was already an established, major-label Canadian band with the same name. The Hands CD collects various studio recordings from 1977 to 1980. Considering the band went through various lineups (including vastly different vocalists), the disc is remarkably cohesive. And the sound is surprisingly refined for an American (to say nothing of a Texan) band, often bringing P.F.M. to mind. There is also a strong Gentle Giant influence. But the band, which by this time was well established, incorporates their influences well, and clearly have their own identity by the time of these recordings. Some of the most delightfully complex and memorable prog by any U.S. band is included here, which makes it rather a shame to learn that they never actually released an album during their lifetime. Oh well, better late than never I suppose. The Prism album is primarily taken from a radio show. The sound quality leaves a bit to be desired, but the energetic performance shines through. Early versions of "Zombieroch," "Triangle of New Flight," and "Hands in the Fire" appear here, as well as cover versions of Gentle Giant's "Plain Truth" and King Crimson's "Great Deceiver." Start with the Hands album, and get the Prism album if you like it.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 14, 1997 releases, 1977 recordings

Related artist(s): Hands, Prism


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