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A genuinely sprawling collection of high-fidelity mutation music that suits the compact disc format perfectly, Hypnotape is the third consecutive Sunburned Hand Of The Man album of studio assemblages following 2019’s Headless and 2021’s Pick A Day To Die. Recorded throughout 2021 and 2022, it’s an album possessed with a peculiar runaway locomotion which jump cuts feverishly between unusual atmospheres yet maintains a beguiling consistency—throbbing, twisting, undulating rhythmic blast-offs suddenly kick the door down into serene realms of nuanced acoustic privacy which are unexpectedly plunged back, face first into a miasma of shirtless, raging thuggery, ad infinitum.
The album is notable in the group’s monstrous catalog for a few reasons: first, it showcases founding member Conrad Capistran stepping out from behind the keyboards and electronics to spread his smooth, buttery baritone atop the majority of the tracks. From his velvet cooing above the pulsing whirlwind of opener “People Person” to his vivid and febrile musings as a trip reporter on the frontlines of the meltdown zone on “Roger” his honeyed vocals guide the listener Virgil-like through the inferno all the way to the album’s finale where he duets with Ron Schneiderman on the old Dino Valenti / Quicksilver chestnut “What About Me”.
Secondly, it features the recorded debut of Sunburned’s longtime friend and collaborator Mark Perretta after years of touring with the group. Some may remember Perretta from his days stomping across the primordial Boston underground of the late ’80s / early ’90s with the mighty Subskin Cables or his solo career as Deluxx but most, no doubt, will be familiar with his stint with Lou Barlow, John Davis and Bob Fay as Deluxx Folk Implosion, most notably when Perretta’s whimsical ode to fatherhood “Daddy Never Understood” was used in the opening sequence to Larry Clark’s beloved coming of age tale Kids in 1996.
Finally, with Hypnotape, Sunburned steps into the hallowed VHF arena after decades of hovering along adjacent corridors!