Best of 2016 Playlist

February 22, 2016

Hands Like Houses - "Dissonants" Review

Get ready for the best album from Hands Like Houses! Our favorite band from Canberra just released their 3rd album, "Dissonants". It comes highly recommended. If you need a reason to listen, well it's simply exquisite. The band have outdone themselves with this album, and it was worth the wait. To buy their album on iTunes click this (link). 

The past three singles ("I Am", "New Romantics", and "Colourblind" respectively) each showed how Hands Like Houses has evolved over the years. This album is equipped with everything you need for a hit. Powerful lyrics, larger than life choruses, and slick breakdowns. 

The first song out of the gate is lead single, "I Am", which packs a huge punch to the listener. And then you transition into "Perspectives and "Colourblind". Each respective song are a nice nod to the band's previous albums ("Perspectives" to "Ground Dweller", and "Colourblind" to "unimagine"). Both bring the band back to their more experimental rock roots during the verses. But "Perspectiveshas more of an ambient, airy feel to the intro and verses. Which is why it is more aligned with the band's older material. 

"Glasshouse" starts with one of the heaviest intros the band has to offer. But the verses are what make it standout. Joel Tyrell is given the spotlight, and more bands in the alt.rock, post hardcore genres need to give their bassists a chance to shine. He kills his part, and then some. The groove the song has really builds into the chorus. While the second verse is a crescendo of the best kind. Building and building until the chorus kicks in. The bridge starts off softer, much like "I Am", before the song crashes into another sweet HLH brand "breakdown". 

Another real standout is "Division Symbols" which proves the band are the masters at creating harmonies and rhythms. The entire song is very methodic, from the intro which has the guitars and bass synchronized to a nice beat, while drums remain the band's backbone. Trenton Woodley also delivers some unexpected unclean vocals. The kind of vocals we might have heard on "Sempiternal" or "Know Hope".

The melody of "Division Symbols" is provided by a twinkling piano number, a lot like the one we wanted more of in "Colourblind". But what really makes the song is the chorus. The lyrics go, "Drag me down, with every word. Out of your mouth, the things we sing out loud (when no one's listening). 

"Degrees of Separation" is very similar to "Division Symbols", but has more of a "Avalanche" (from Bring Me The Horizon's "That's the Spirit") feel to it. Keeping with that comparison, that would make "Division Symbols" HLH's "True Friends". If the band release anymore singles, it wouldn't surprise us it they chose "Degrees of Separation", because its anthemic chorus really makes it a standout. 

The album starts to slow after "Division Symbols". You can almost draw a line in the album, where the band pulled more from their heavier influences, and where they pulled from more alt. rock oriented genres. And while this might have been a deal breaker, it actually works. The slow transition to a more melodic HLH, starting with "Stillwater" and ending with "Motion Sickness", is a great way to close the album. The songs are by NO means boring or slow, they're just as energetic as the others. But the overall feel isn't geared towards the band's heavier side. It's atmospheric and very accessible for new fans. 

Summary -
This is one of those bands that keeps coming back, time after time, and impressing us. We all fear that after a phenomenal album, a band will falter or fall into old habits. But Hands Like Houses keep improving on the source material. Taking what they started with their debut, and mixing in new influences and tastes. And most importantly, they don't fall victim to "Risecore" like so many of their labelmates have. Seriously, this album is the closest thing to perfect since "Sempiternal", "Collide with the Sky" or "Life's Not Out to Get You" (if that's not too cocky to say). Recommended for fans of PVRIS, SECRETS, Tonight Alive, Pierce the Veil, and newer Bring Me The Horizon.

Favorite Tracks - 
Aside from the singles, listen to "Glasshouse", "Division Symbols", "Degrees of Separation" and "Motion Sickness"

Rating - 9.5/10 (if not a 10)