Top positive review
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A Genre Re-Defined With a Single Record
on August 10, 2013
Hands Like Houses is not a band that I've always particularly cared for. I didn't really listen to their first record in much depth because I wasn't a huge fan but I decided to give this one a chance because I'm always looking to expand my musical horizon. This record blew me away, great lyrics, deep meaning, great musicianship, and man, the singer's vocals are so powerful and awesome. It's nice to hear some heavy music that isn't knee deep in screaming (which I like for certain band but a nice, clean approach is refreshing). The artwork for the record is also something I wanted to bring up because I think it's one of the best covers I've ever seen, the detail is astounding, I just love good art when I see it. I'm going to do a song by song review without referring to their previous records because I like to take a piece of art and criticize it for what it is.
1. "Developments" 10/10 - This song is heavy, it's emotional, it's just an all-around powerhouse of a song. I love the riffage and the melodic guitar pieces. The xylophone/mallet percussion adds a lot of depth to this almost whimsical/magical music. The chorus is very catchy, the vocals are strong and constantly delivering heartfelt words of wisdom. Awesome opening track.
2. "Introduced Species" 9/10 - Some electronic effects begin the song followed by an anthem yell from a group of men. This song is a little heavier than the previous, the drummer has a lot more work in this song with double bass hits during the verses. Once again, the lyrics are very impressive which is continuing trend for the remainder of the record. A great post-hardcore song with originality tossed in.
3. "Weight" 9/10 - Love the slight synth in this song along with the melodic guitar riffs. The piano adds terrific depth, I just love this song for it's emotion. The lyrics are deep and heartfelt, the vocalist's delivery is very powerful, just a great soulful song.
4. "Shapeshifters" 8/10 - This song reminds me a bit of Story of the Year which is one of my favorite bands, it carries a lot of energy, angst, and power. The vocals once again shine, the song has this very punk feeling to it mixed with deep roots in post-hardcore. Another good song, it might actually be my least favorite which means nothing because it's still an awesome song.
5. "The House You Built" 10/10 - I can't describe how happy this song makes me, it mixed Fall Out Boy with Pierce the Veil with Story of the Year. The lyrics are perhaps the highlight of the song, I love just reading along with the booklet because it's always so admirable how deep the lyrics and how much effort was put into writing them. One of the highlights of the record.
6. "A Tale of Outer Suburbia" 10/10 - This song begins slowly with clean guitars, soulful vocals, and electronic effects. This song eventually boils over into this epic chorus with violins, love it. This song is one of my favorites, it has so much emotion, so much love, I just love it.
7. "Oceandust" 10/10 - The only real ballad on the album, it begins with a piano and then some soft/fragile vocals follow with some heartbreaking lyrics. It's a nice change in pace to hear a man, his piano, and an acoustic guitar. Definitely worth the listen.
8. "No Parallels" 9/10 - Another lyric heavy song, a slower post-hardcore song with a catchy chorus and more great melodic guitar pieces. This is the song that while I was listening through the CD for the first time, I realized how great this record was, it was like an awakening song.
9. "Fountainhead" 10/10 - This is one of the heavier songs on the record, it's very drum oriented mixed with a few fun guitar riffs. The chorus is incredibly catchy, one of the best on the entire record. One of the highlights on the record.
10. "Wisteria" 9/10 - This is a typical post-hardcore song with Hands Like Houses' touch of musical brilliance. The lyrics are once again, very good. The chorus is very well constructed with this idea of starting very quiet and then building up to this epic finale.
11. "A Fire On a Hill" 11/10 - This is the best song on the record, it begins with a piano that builds into this tremendous melody, it just carries with it so many instruments and sounds to be dissected. The lyrics are the best on the record, the chorus is the best on the CD, the vocalists performance is very powerful especially during the chorus. I love some length to a song, it's not over stretched, it's just long enough the deliver the point of the lyrics. Best Song!
I highly recommend this record to anybody who loves great music, post-hardcore bands, and open-minded pop punk and soul fans. This record has redefined the Post-Hardcore genre. It's introduced diversity and true originality. I love it, I hope you do too!