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Hands Like Houses | Dissonants

Label:  Rise
Release Date: February 26, 2016
Rating:  4.5 out of 5
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February 26, 2016
By Richard Ahlgrim
 
Australian alternative rock band, Hands like Houses, released their third studio album, Dissonants, on February 26th.  Their first two albums, Ground Dweller and Unimagine, received  the 11th and the 4th position  on the US Hard Rock chart, respectively.  If Dissonants follows suit with the previous albums of Hands Like Houses, there is no doubt it will break the top 10 on the US Hard Rock charts.

Hands Like Houses was started in Canberra, Australia in 2008 by five school friends, and has since travelled the world on multiple tours.  In 2014, Jamal Sabet, the founding keyboardist of Hands Like Houses, left the band and Dissonant will be their first album without Sabet.  Hands Like Houses’ first tour across the US began in 2012 not long after releasing their first studio album.  They have toured with many popular bands, such as Pierce The Veil, A Day To Remember, and Sleeping with Sirens.

Over the past year, Hands Like Houses released two excellent songs off the Dissonants album early with music videos to give their fans a taste of the new album.  The first song released was the album opener, “I Am”, which is a very energetic and heavy kick-start to the album.  The second video they released was for the song “Colourblind”, which is a great follow up to “I Am” because it matches the high energy levels of “I Am” and does a great job of showing off Trenton Woodley’s vocal range.

Placing a high energy song like “I Am” as the album opener for Dissonants is a risky move for many bands because it is hard to keep the rest of the album at the same energy level.  Hands Like Houses is one of few bands that can keep their entire album at such a high energy level while also having unique, deep songs.

“I Am” is a fast paced lively song that introduces the album perfectly.  This song is a battle cry for individuality and uniqueness, which is exactly what Hands Like Houses wants to show in this album.  With the recent surge of alternative bands, it take a huge amount of talent to shine above the indistinguishable, mediocre bands and be unique.

Following “I Am” is the song “Perspectives”, which is a bit more on the mellow side for this album.  This song seems like a catchy, sing along with a clear, strong chorus that is easy to remember, rather than a deeper, meaningful song like most of the rest of the album.  Because of that, “Perspectives” feels out of place lyrically.  Instrumentally this song has a diverse pace to keep it interesting, which saves the song from feeling repetitive.

“Colourblind” is easily one of the best songs on the album, if not the best.  It features various high energy portions, softer refrains, and screaming.  This song does a fantastic job of showing the huge vocal range of Woodley that isn’t seen in a lot of this album.  The lyrics of this song are beautiful and full of great imagery.  It informs the listeners to stop being confined by the definite blacks and whites, instead people need to open their eyes and see all the beauty in the colors of the world.

“Colourblind” is followed by another song with a good mix of some heavy and soft parts,  “New Romantics”.  This song has many similar features as “Colourblind” and ends up falling into its shadow, because “Colourblind” is more energetic and very hard to follow up.  On its own “New Romantics” is a great song that fits into the style of Dissonants very well and contains insightful lyrics about finding yourself.

“Glasshouse” comes in after “New Romantics” with hard hitting guitar riffs, strong drumming, and darker lyrics.  This song is one of the top songs on the album, possibly better than “Colourblind”.  “Glasshouse” has cryptic lyrics which are a bit hard to decipher, but seems to be about being overcome by pressures in life and in your head.  The tempo changes in this song are very well planned and really add to the song even though they lower the song’s energy.

“Division Symbols”, “Stillwater”, and “Momentary” come next in the album line up and act as the softer, more weighty, center of the album.  “Division Symbols” utilizes screaming and heavy guitar riffs, but keeps the song tempo slower than earlier songs in the album.  “Stillwater” is the slowest song on the album and reaches deeper with its lyrics than most of the rest of the album.  “Momentary” is a nice, catchy, mellow song but ends up blending in with “Stillwater”.

“Motion Sickness” marks the end of the mellow songs and creates a bridge from the slower center songs, to the ending portion of the album.  This song contains multiple parts that really show off the vocals and a groovy, psychedelic rock style guitar riff.  This song is unique compared to the rest of the album and is very catchy which makes it one of the best on the album, although it may be slower than some fans prefer.

At the end of the bridge made by “Motion Sickness” stands “Degrees of Seperation”.  This song has some great heavier parts which really help to pick up the energy of the album and keep it at the same energy level as the beginning of the album. An odd element seen in this song is the mood difference between the song and the mood of the lyrics.  The song is upbeat and exciting, but the lyrics are about separation and loneliness.

Wrapping up the album is “Grey Havens” and “Bloodlines”.  “Grey Havens” instrumentally follows suit with the heavy, fast paced tempo from the beginning of the album.  Its lyrics talk about death and the uncertainty of what happens.  To bring the album to a close just as strong as it began, Hands Like Houses finishes the album with the heavy hitting “Bloodlines”.  This song is filled with fascinating guitar riffs, deep, almost spiritual lyrics, and remarkable drumming.  The gentle fade out at the end of “Bloodlines” creates a perfect closing to Dissonant.

This album shows beautiful instrumental work, amazing harmony between the band, and a plethora of deep, relatable lyrics.  This is easily one of the best albums of 2016 so far! Hands Like Houses are unbelievably talented and even with the loss of one of their founding members, created an extraordinary album!
Facebook Comments: Keep 'em clean folks!
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