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Synthpop Single Review: "Hand of Plenty" by Cellophane Riot


Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!


Cellophane Riot’s Hand of Plenty is a song with a unique feeling to it. It has a lyrical approach all its own and the synth sounds feel icy cold and technological. The ticking of a clock and the rush of a rewinding tape opens the song as the dramatic, powerful and emotive voice of Evelyn Swan cuts into Mozart w/An L’s music. There’s a steady weight of drums and a cool pulse of synth over that cascading beat.

The vocal melody is ghostly and cold, full of a sense of depth. A rising, tightening pulse of sound Is joined by oscillating and leaping synths that add a broken motion to the track, high and shimmering like shards of glass. The synths come in choppier segments as the beat reverberates and that lost, hollow vocal drifts as the track fragments into computerized sound and breaks into silence.

Cellophane Riot takes a unique lyrical approach to Hand of Plenty. It has a rather interesting storytelling aspect, bu it isn’t about to elucidate the tale in too much depth. This adds a mysterious quality to it.

A sense of argument comes from this song as the first line is, “These are your great aunt June’s most precious things, just how selfish could the poor dear be?” In response the next line points out, “Don’t throw away your great aunt’s precious things. Don’t buy, don’t sell, don’t look at her rings.”

Now things get more personal as one of the song’s two “characters” speaks. They say, “You make me cry, tell me lies. Why don’t we both get out alive?” There’s a sense of finality in the words, “Hold me tight. Kiss goodbye.”

The second “character” asks a series of questions as the argument unfolds: Why don’t we make it out alive? Are you listening? Are we fighting?

There’s a real sense of mystery in the chorus that speaks of, “Hands in my sleep. Hands of plenty” but what’s clearer is that one half of the imagined couple in this song is saying, “It’s not working. All the things you want to see.”

The reply is, “It’s not working, all the things I hoped I’d be.” There’s a stubborn feeling in the words, “I’m not listening. All these things don’t work for me.” The final line is quite emphatic in the words, “It’s not working. Really how much further can this be?”