ALBUM: Hands Like Houses – Unimagine

Release Date: July 23rd, 2013
Label: Rise Records
Website: None available


Three things: 1) Austrailia’s Hands Like Houses are an ever so slightly electronically tinged post-hardcore band with poppy hooks. 2) There are thousands of those kicking about these days. 3) They’ve called their album ‘Unimagine’. Now, if the album was rubbish, it’d be pretty easy for us to take the cheap shot here and make a joke about that, wouldn’t it? Thankfully though, it’s not rubbish, it’s actually pretty damn good, and we’ve got far more integrity than that, so we won’t (just promise not to call the next album something like ‘Saturated’ or ‘Over Done’, yeah? We’ve can only show so much restraint).

See, despite the aforementioned and seemingly infinite droves of soundalike peers they’re competing with, Hands Like Houses manage to set themselves apart admirably. Where common practice these days seems to be to chuck every single aspect of every single genre of music (even the shit bits) into the mix, ‘Unimagine’ sees only the strongest and, more importantly, most relevant components make the cut.

There’s enough electronics on board to start a party, but not so many that it all becomes one incessant drone of white noise (looking at you, Crown The Empire). The stripped back tracks, such as ‘Oceandust’, actually contribute something, unlike when Sleeping With Sirens try that little bit too hard with it, and the vocals are sugary enough to please the ears without feeling like you’re being beaten around the head with every try-hard R’n’B clich√© in the book.The only question to be asked is, what took so long for someone to do it properly?!

Vocally, there’s a very strong hint of Brendan Urie-esque sense of swagger and showmanship from the early Panic! At The Disco days (in fact, ‘The House You Built’ is pretty much exactly what you’d expect P!ATD to have sounded like if they were born today) and this isn’t a bad thing. There’s a slick, witty charm to it, without ever coming across like he’d be a complete arsehole if you met him. More frontmen like this, please.

No, it’s still not anything revolutionary in it’s own right, but by cutting out all the pretence and gimmickry that their contemporaries are still wasting their time on and focusing their attention on big hooks, strong songwriting and remembering what made the influencing genres worth borrowing from in the first place, Hands Like Houses are onto a real winner here. Feeling your faith in post-hardcore waining? Take one listen to ‘Fountainhead’ and have your faith immediately restored.

Written by Ryan De Freitas

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