First Watch: Phenomenal Handclap Band Above The Masses : All Songs Considered 1970s science-fiction geometry and cloning meet in the band's video for "The Right One."
NPR logo The Phenomenal Handclap Band Rises Above The Masses

The Phenomenal Handclap Band Rises Above The Masses

The Phenomenal Handclap Band (minus numerous clones).
Courtesy of the artist

Leave it to The Phenomenal Handclap Band to take Logan's Run-era dystopia and make it feel joyful. The video for the band's new song, "The Right One," imagines a dying world of filled with menacing obelisks, unregulated cloning and one mouth-hand creature which will never be mentioned again because it creeps me out too much. Yikes. Somehow this becomes the perfect setting for the band's glossy disco anthem.

With lyrics like "So while you keep failing again and again/we'll just wait and let the right one in," the band creates a Phenomenal Handclap version of "We Will Rock You." The song fits well with the band's shift to a more electronic-oriented sound for their upcoming album Form and Control. Laura Marin's vocals are still right at the front of the songs, but the band has added more layering with bright falsettos into the mix.

In an email, Phenomenal Handclap Band founders Daniel Collas and Sean Marquad wrote that they wanted the video to strongly embody the song's message:

The lyrics of "The Right One" are about deciding what is right for yourself regardless of the worth placed on certain ideals by society. As artists, we have to determine what condemns you for making it. The video shows the band in multiples with only one version of each member being truly authentic. It is set in a timeless other world. The energy of the group controls individual parts of a monolith coming together — two hands pointing upward. Once the structure is built, the real individuals are then transported to a place above the impostors, having been rewarded for their brilliance.

"The Right One" director Moh Azima, who worked with the band before on the retro "15 to 20," says that the concepts for the video came quickly to him after hearing the new song:

I've always been fascinated with the PHB myth and wanted to explore that with this video. My original concept to them was pretty simple — retro futurism with an Egyptian vibe — and the band was just as excited about this approach as I was. I played around with lots of symbolism like triangles, monuments and the eclipse to create the narrative. The other part of the concept — the multiples — has more to do with the the meaning of the song, and how difficult it can be when you are faced with the responsibility of choosing 'The Right One' from a field of contenders. Ultimately the message of the video, just like the song, is one of transcendence, about not getting too involved with making sure you've got the right one, about just believing in yourself and allowing that to lift you higher.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band's Form and Control is due out on February 13th from Tummy Touch Records.