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Hands Like Houses: Dissonants

Track List

>I Am
>New Romantics
>Division Symbols
>Motion Sickness
>Degrees of Separation
>Grey Havens
>Blood Lines

Album Notes

Personnel: Trenton Woodley (vocals); Matt Cooper, Alex Pearson (guitar); Matt Parkitny (drums).

Over the course of each album, Australia's Hands Like Houses progressively tightened their execution, harnessing catchy pop melodies and focusing their rage and discontent. They hit a sweet spot on third LP Dissonants, resulting in a huge sound that recalls the mainstream-arrival moments of Paramore and Bring Me the Horizon. In the spirit of the early aughts, Hands Like Houses echo that era's heavy emo-punk and post-hardcore. Produced by James Wisner (Underoath, Further Seems Forever, Paramore) and Erik Ron (Issues, Escape the Fate, Motionless in White), Dissonants takes full advantage of their experiences delivering pop-sensible metal and pop-punk. The most accessible tracks contain textures embellished with apocalyptic atmospherics that transport and lift the band above peers otherwise content with basic rock bursts. Frontman Trenton Woodley's formidable vocals stun, recalling the soul-filled cries of Slaves' Jonny Craig and Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump. Matt Cooper and Alexander Pearson shred on the guitars, while Joel Tyrrell's bass and Matt Parkitny's drums propel the rhythm forward, especially on standout bangers "Colourblind" and "New Romantics." The heaviest moments are pummeling and deeply visceral ("Glasshouse," "Grey Havens"), bolstered by co-writers Caleb Shomo (Beartooth) and Beau Burchell (Saosin), respectively. PVRIS frontwoman Lyndsey Gunnulfsen and producer Blake Harnage also lend assistance on a pair of tracks, one of which ("Degrees of Separation") ropes in Shomo (his third writing credit here) for a propulsive all-star power track that has one of the catchiest choruses on the album. Bookended by track after track of energetic gems, Dissonants' core comprises a trio of powerful singalongs, serving as welcome moments of relative calm amidst the irresistible physicality of the rest of the album. These anthems fit in nicely, revealing a patient and introspective underbelly beneath the aggression. They offer hope, freed of despair and woe, ending with a glimmer of possibility. Overall, Dissonants is a complete reflective journey, resulting in the band's most solid release to date. With it, Hands Like Houses expanded their palette and synthesized an addictive mix of influences and sounds, making a clear bid for the mainstream. ~ Neil Z. Yeung


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