The Great New Album from Handful of Luvin’
Bruce Von Stiers
The alt rock folk scene has a wide selection of musical styles mixed together. Some aren’t too good and others work very well together. Falling into this latter category is the band Handful of Luvin’. An eclectic mix of styles can be found in their music. A bit of rock is there, along with alt folk and a touch of pop. There is also a very strong Celtic influence in their music.
Considered one of Seattle’s most requested bands, Handful of Luvin’ recently recorded their third full-length album. The title of the album is Life In Between. It was self produced and released.
The members of the band are David John, Andrew Joslin, Patrick Files and Mike Knight. David does the lead vocals and plays guitar. Andrew is on 5 string violin. Patrick is the bass player. And Mike is the band’s drummer.
There is extra help on the album by way of trumpeter Samantha Boshnack, keyboardist Oskar Kollen, midi programming by Yevgeniy Frid, cello by Caleb Hegg and clarinet from John Benefiel.
Interesting string music opens Born Lucky. It has a toe-tapping, folk rock beat with fluid vocals. There is a bit of retro guitar that creeps into the song here and there.
Breadcrumbs has more of a Country flavor to it than anything else. It made me think of bands like Rascal Flatts.
Celtic sounds mixed in with a slight rock styling can be found in Kickdrum. There’s some pretty slick violin music in the song.
I love the acoustic guitar in Washington. The song is mellow but has a kind of in-your-face attitude.
Beautiful violin and viola begin This Man. From the intro the song transcends into an interesting mix of Reggae, alt folk and pop. I know that sounds a bit strange trying to explain what I heard in the song, but believe me, it really works.
The sixth song on the album is somewhat unusual. It’s title is The Pilgrimage (Into The Chaos). It features an audio track from philosopher Alan Watts. Behind the talk from Watts is serene background music. The song has a tough rock guitar anthem styled closing.
Strong string music permeates a Country rock styled song called There’s No Right There’s No Wrong.
Lazy Men has an almost light Jim Croce sound to it.
Treaty is a toe tapper with tough string music. The strings made me think of Robbie Steinhart of the classic rock band Kansas.
Glass Ceiling has a light, somewhat Celtic sound with a tiny bit of Country thrown in.
Bomb Bomb is a definite interesting song. It contains a bit of what I might call Gypsy music, or perhaps Hungarian restaurant styling. Fused in with that strings sound is rock and country to make it an intriguing sounding song. And just to top it off, Samantha Boshnack’s trumpet adds a slight Herb Alpert edge to things.
I liked the whole album but one of my favorite songs was Harry Met Rona. The band took a couple of traditional Celtic instrumentals and incorporated them into an incredible mix with a slight rock influence. If you even slightly like Celtic music, you will love this song.
The album ends with another song fronted by an audio clip from Alan Watts. The title of this final song is Fingers. Slight rock music permeated by violin backs the Watts speaking part.
Life In Between has a definite eclectic sound. The songs mix classic Celtic music with folk, rock, various alt influences and a sliver of country. The vocals are well done and the music is very cool.
I was all set to not like this album. Most of the band’s I’ve heard that incorporate Celtic music into their styling don’t do it that well. But I was more than pleasantly surprised when I found that I liked the album. I especially liked the songs Kickdrum and Treat and the instrumental Harry Met Rona.
Life In Between can be purchased through iTunes, amazon.com and other online venues.
Visit the Handful of Luvin’ official web site to find out more about the band and this new album. The site is www.handfulofluvin.com.
© 2010 Bruce E. Von Stiers