Following up their initial cassette release ‘Tropical Income Tax’, Providence/NYC based holiday hypnotherapists Hand Of Food have returned and invite you to luxuriate in a perverted idea of paradise with their debut LP, ‘Swimming Mindlessly’. Despite coming from noise rock and damaged electronic backgrounds, the band sits in an odd nether region somewhere between a brutalized ambience or conceptual exotica, while at times dipping a toe into the self-help section. The record plays like the warped audio brochure for a struggling resort town, luring you in with motivational rhetoric and a transparent facade of tranquility. Although your instincts tell you something is off and the regional jokes are all lost on you, an all-inclusive vacation deal this good hasn’t landed in your inbox in a while so you go ahead and book the trip anyways.
The opening track Sign Of The Lemon would have you believe everything is fine — lush pads, chimes, and 100% real flutes commingle harmoniously — you made the right choice. As your stay progresses similar instrumentation takes a more anxious turn. A professional voice-over artist or possibly the cruise captain interjects to insist that everything is ok, but hazy ambient atmospheres lead to reflection on the flight over, to all the decisions that led you here, and ultimately, regret.
Doing your best to keep those spirits high, Chelo’s By The Sea whisks you away to the on-site cocktail lounge for some of the resort's complimentary entertainment, an evening with ‘legendary’ resident crooner Publicity Dave. But by the time the album's title track new-age dirge rolls around it’s clear things have taken a turn for the worse. A catastrophe of some sort has occurred and a strained voice pleads for mercy through a cacophony of eyewitness accounts. Against all odds relaxation is finally achieved when renowned audio book narrator Rebecca Mitchell’s soothing meditation picks you up, dusts you off, and guides you to a seemingly permanent place of peace.
Swimming Mindlessly dislocates the typical island narrative cliches to articulately illustrate tropical disarray and tell the story of a retreat gone awry. A transportive listening experience taking you directly to the heart of beach-bum dystopia. Judging by this record the Google reviews comment section for the Hand Of Food travel agency would be a treasure chest of pure gold.