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Hands Like Houses – Dissonants – Album Review

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Hands Like Houses
Release Date: 26 February 2016
Review by Sam Sweeney

I was first introduced to Hands Like Houses back in January 2014, when they filled out a tiny youth centre in Footscray, alongside several support acts. Although this venue had a capacity of what I’d estimate to be little more than 200-300 people, I remember the band’s performance as having the energy equivalent as if they were performing for a packed out arena. Coincidentally, I was fortunate enough to see Hands Like Houses again in December of last year opening the Big Ass Tour at Rod Laver Arena. I can confirm that this performance had calibre that far exceeded what would be expected of such a young band. Four months later, the Canberra quintet is back with an absolute killer of an album. Dissonants, the band’s third full length album, is a clear demonstration of musical growth and development; their signature sound combination of melodic and heavier elements guides each track, something that both new and old fans will be able to rejoice in.

Opening track, I Am, immediately reels in listeners with a clean guitar riff, before vocalist Trenton Woodley’s distinctly Australian voice dominates the song. Complete with a compelling chorus and solid breakdown, I Am, is a more than excellent introduction to Dissonants, and one of the best tracks on the album. Trenton’s vocals continue to drive the album in consecutive tracks, Perspectives, and Colourblind, are both paired with enormous melodies and even heavier riffs. Glasshouse, deserves an honourable mention for embracing the title of heaviest track on the album, while, Division Symbols, and Degrees of Separation, are my favourite songs both lyrically, and for their energy.

Momentary, is the eighth track from Dissonants and, as one of the album’s slower songs, is a welcome interlude. Though just as melody driven as previous songs, its relaxed tempo divides the album. Motion Sickness, continues similarly, demonstrating versatility and a previously unacknowledged idea of sentimentality.

Holistically, Dissonants, is packed full of songs that stand alone, yet work together with immense success. Each track could quite easily be a single on its own, but at the same time compliments its successor and predecessor to produce a cohesive and thoroughly entertaining album, something that will be exorbitantly more exciting when performed live.

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