Hands Like Houses
Reimagine


4.5
superb

Review

by beachdude CONTRIBUTOR (34 Reviews)
September 16th, 2014 | 55 replies


Release Date: 09/16/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rediscovering inner beauty.

Acoustic renditions of existing songs have been a rock cliche for decades. Bands from across the rock spectrum have relied on these alternate versions as a quick, easy way to show their sensitive side, and hopefully gain some new fans in the process. While these motivations have occasionally led to iconic, memorable performances that stand the test of time, far too often they feel like cheap cash-ins on hit songs that add absolutely nothing to the original other than being “stripped down” in the most lazy way possible, often exposing weak musicianship or songwriting in the process.

Therefore, one can forgive fans of Australian post hardcore group Hands Like Houses for having a collective moment of trepidation when the band announced their latest endeavor. After exploding onto the scene with two extremely well-received back-to-back albums, Ground Dweller and Unimagine, Hands Like Houses revealed that they had recorded an EP of “reimagined” acoustic renditions of tracks off Unimagine, aptly titled Reimagine. The decision seemed to invite the question of whether these tracks had been truly reworked from the ground up, or were simply a way for the band to cash a quick paycheck. However, from the moment the rhythmic clapping on the first track begins, the listener is made instantly aware that these are no lazy rehashes… these tracks are an entirely new animal. Each of the album’s five tracks have titles that reflect the theme of discovering new beauty in what one thought they already knew, with the original song titles in parentheses to emphasize the difference between these renditions and the originals.

“Recollect (Shapeshifters)” kicks the affair off with clapping and mellow acoustic strumming, giving off a relaxed alt rock/folk vibe. The song does a superb job of retaining the original’s theme of an all-encompassing love while expressing it in a completely different way. Elsewhere, “Revive (Introduced Species)” is set to a tribal beat, and the song’s main melody is transposed from guitar to keyboards, allowing the guitars to add in additional layers of sound that lead to a much richer, fuller composition. The whistling on “Rediscover (No Parallels)” gives it a mellow feeling suitable to the song’s uplifting subject matter, and “Release (A Tale of Outer Suburbia)” is set to minimalistic guitar work over a military drumbeat. However, the most radical “reimagining” on the brief 21-minute release is the finale, “Reflect (Developments)”, which closes the EP on the opening track from Unimagine. Trading energetic guitars and crashing drums for gospel-inspired backing vocals and light keyboards, the reworking upends the entire composition of the song, revealing an inner beauty that could easily have been missed in the original recording. This makes the track a perfect representation of the EP as a whole, which proves that acoustic renditions don’t have to be boring vocalist-and-guitarist affairs, and in fact are far more successful when the entire band is utilized in new and unexpected ways. With this release, Hands Like Houses have not only bought more time in which to work on their third full-length, but have proved themselves to be far more diverse and interesting a group of musicians than many would expect at first glance. Here’s to expecting the unexpected.



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user ratings (137)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
beachdude
Contributing Reviewer
September 16th 2014


842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just love the vibe of this, really good stuff.

madddubokbro
September 16th 2014


25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome review you got here, pos. They really thrive with this acoustic stuff, it's definitely their comfort zone.

Beardog
September 16th 2014


1623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review!

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2014


6439 Comments


Great review man, your stuff is always good.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review. This is gonne be great. Just haven't heard two songs. Developments was my favorite song from Unimagine and it sounds like it might be my favorite here.

T5Cx
September 16th 2014


155 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rules agreed

osmark86
September 16th 2014


5603 Comments


4.5? Hands Like Houses? I must've accidentally snogged a frog.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Wow. Just finished it and it is absolutely gorgeous. Developments felt so alien from the original song in a good way and really ended in a perfect manner. I kinda wish they had done the whole album instead of just five songs honestly.

AmbushReality
September 16th 2014


40 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos'd, took my thoughts of writing a potential review for this and spat them out better than I ever could. Great record, great review.

Shimana
September 16th 2014


545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretentious singer

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

How? Seems like a pretty sweet group of dudes from what I can tell. His lyrics are top notch as well.

Shimana
September 16th 2014


545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

literally his voice, not character

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I'm not sure how you can describe his voice as pretentious. Always thought that was a word for describing character not the quality of voice unless I'm just not really quite right on what that word means. What do you not like about his voice? I think it's phenomenal.

osmark86
September 16th 2014


5603 Comments


voices could be described as pretentious I suppose. Dylan can sing when he chooses to for one.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ok so pretentious is basically showing off or pretending to have greater talent that one actually possesses. So I'm not really following that line of thought. The guy can clearly sing from what I've been hearing and he doesn't sound like he's ever struggling so

zmol
September 16th 2014


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm actually in love with the redo of developments. It's just so addicting and I get lost in it.

Digging: The Dear Hunter - All Is As All Should Be

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2014


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I agree. It started off strangely and took some adjusting for me to get into it but the back half is fantastic.

xpaincakex
September 16th 2014


258 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

great group of musicians. everything they do just emits a lot of emotion.

dmp3131
September 16th 2014


1213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is so good...so far, they can do no wrong. Can't wait for more new stuff from them.

Superkudo64
September 18th 2014


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very smooth jazz sounding. The remixes sound fresh, I dig this.



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