Review: Hands Like Houses – Dissonants
Hands Like Houses
After drowning in radioplay and top-tier international tours at the hand of 2013’s Unimagine, it’d be facile – expected, even – for Hands Like Houses to polish offering #3 with a safer and more pop-driven shimmer to appease a wider audience. Alas, they don’t give a fuck about expectations; the Canberran experimental shredders have returned with guns well and truly blazing on Dissonants, an album that not only builds upon everything the quintet have established thus far, but knocks it into overdrive with a battering hit of unanticipated energy.
Of course, those yearning for a total spin in formula will be sorely disappointed with the new LP. Brooding verses saturated in faders and choruses blistering with gang vocals still pillar the framework for a single, but in setting Dissonants apart from its predecessor, we’re gifted with the addition of the illusive, mouthwatering breakdown. Slick, speaker-rumbling fretwork is weaved around the band’s longstanding ethereality, and while Hands Like Houses are yet to succumb to the pitfalls of ‘Rise-core’, they’ve found themselves nestled in a sound that’ll finally stop comments like, “Ugh, they’re not heavy enough to play [tour]!”
Now in the hands of frontman Trenton Woodley, synths are infinitely more refined – less obnoxious, but as prevalent as they’ve ever been. Along with a broadened hot-to-cold singing range, his songwriting has also sharpened tenfold; subject matter is much the same as it’s always been, but Woodley is no longer appealing exclusively to Newtown hipsters and high schoolers obsessed with experimental poetry. Joel Tyrrell also shines through more than ever on bass, with “Glasshouse” and “Degrees Of Separation” surefire medalists for four-string fanatics.
12 tracks of arena-flooring anthems with not a second of filler to hold them down, Dissonants is, without a doubt, Hands Like Houses’ defining record. It’s loud, flashy, and downright explosive – give it another two or three years, and The Amity Affliction will be opening for them.