Hands Like Houses: Dissonants Review

Hands Like Houses
(Rise Records)

Canberra, Australia natives, Hands Like Houses, have managed to top their amazing sophomore record with the magnificence that is Dissonants. Habitually explosive, although noticeably more profound, the album has an even richer, distinctive grounding than their most recent full-length album, Unimagine. The melodic despondence of their previous work has certainly up-scaled to a higher platform, as noted in their reformed, crisp, lyrical content, now more fine-tuned and pro-harnessed. The record begins with, “I Am” as the group explodes out the gate to formally introduce their newly transformed sound, now complete with occasional screams, intact harmonizing, and an infectious bridge.

“Be honest with yourself/do you see in your reflection, someone else?” is the inquiring intro of “Perspectives” that follows the first track, setting the tone for the rest of the tune with resolve. This is probably one of the most distinguishing numbers on the album. Everything just meshes together so cohesively, and the energy from the guitar punctuates the thought-provoking lyricism just right. It could easily be pegged as the state-of-the-art HLH track, but one could also say the same in regards to other the archives of their discography, such as, “Colourblind”, “New Romantics”, “Division Symbols”, and “Motion Sickness.” These are indeed iconic tunes for the band, all of which glinting with newfound flares to accentuate their notable sound, giving their fans their fix while tweaking it just enough to show their growth. The rest of the numbers are noticeably a bit more exploratory for the group, probing with reverb, drum samples, sharpened lyrics and hardened instrumentation. With their previous works, they were renowned for their reprieves and stops during their ballads, but Dissonants stands out in that it instead capitalizes on the group’s uncanny ability for crafting arena-worthy, immense choruses and combustible, propulsive verses into a work of art-such is the case for this album in its entirety. If a personal favorite had to be decided upon, it would be, “Bloodlines,” the album’s finale. “Just by killing time, we kill ourselves/ just by giving up, we give ourselves away.” Again, HLH has a knack for captivating its audience with palpating lyrics while having them simultaneously bouncing around to their infectious harmonies, and this cut proves it perfectly.

All in all, Hands Like Houses has formulated their most voluminous and enthralling record to date with Dissonants, and they seemed to have tapped into uncharted potential, potential that will surely catapult them to even higher polls in the charts in the future.