Hands Like Houses
Dissonants


3.5
great

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
March 9th, 2016 | 59 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hands Like Houses take the sound of Unimagine to more radio friendly reaches.

I never really caught on to what everyone saw in Hands Like Houses’ debut Ground Dweller. Certainly, I understood that the band had potential in their surprisingly technical and varied approach to contemporary post hardcore and focus on Trenton Woodley’s vocals. However, Ground Dweller was really lacking in a lot of areas, primarily in a serious lack of memorable songwriting and a production job somehow both over and underdone. By contrast their follow-up Unimagine was a sleeper hit. Trenton Woodley found a sweet spot with his range (originally it felt like he stretched too far out of his zone on the debut), the band finally brought some hooks with them, and there was an almost willfully ignored depth to many of the songs even if they didn’t have the flashy technicality of Ground Dweller. With album number three, Dissonants, fans wondered if Hands Like Houses would revive the approach they used on the debut and meld it with their second self on Unimagine. The result is not…well not that.

If anything, Dissonants takes the sound of Unimagine and simplifies it even more. Virtually the entire album uses basic rock/pop structuring to push forward Woodley’s vocals, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering his talent. Unfortunately, the instrumentation often lacks flavor after losing keyboardist Jamal Sabet and the lead guitar work is mysteriously toned down to boot. Admirably, Woodley’s vocals are good enough to carry a lot of the album. If there’s one thing the band didn’t forget to bring to the table, it’s hooks. As watered down as these songs can feel, most of them remain quite memorable. Opening track and leadoff single “I Am” is still a bold standout for instance. And hell, fans weren’t totally off the mark thinking some aggression would come back with this album, as evidenced by pounding breakdowns like the one in the back half of “I Am”.

The band’s approach to atmosphere and melody does seep in enough that Dissonants feels wholly theirs, but that often just serves to remind us that they can do better. Dissonants is a catchy, melodic, and entertaining slice of vaguely artsy, mostly radio friendly alt rock that smells queerly of wasted potential. An ideal melding of past successes this may not be, but it’s acceptable as it is.



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user ratings (213)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
theNateman (3)
Let me count the ways you kill me...

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Ground Dweller

Unimagine

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recommended by reviewer
Hands Like Houses Unimagine

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2016


10196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

disappointing album, but still pre good

dmp3131
March 8th 2016


1213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I miss the awesome technical lead guitar work and the keyboard. But the hooks and heavy bass do a great job of making up for that a bit.

theNateman
March 8th 2016


3160 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Ehh it was just ok. Like it wasn't shit, but it's really not for more than a couple listens.

GreyShadow
March 9th 2016


1931 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I fail to find the "melodic" you are talking about.

Digging: Icarus the Owl - Rearm Circuits

Tunaboy45
March 9th 2016


15689 Comments


Sounds like a pretty meh listen.

grindcorecore
March 9th 2016


617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the lyrics on this are way less cringey than on unimagine

oldsoul
March 9th 2016


258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

disappointing album, but still pre good [2] agree with pretty much everything in this review

Digging: Sights and Sounds - Monolith

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2016


10196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I fail to find the "melodic" you are talking about."



I know you really vehemently don't like this but don't be silly

GreyShadow
March 9th 2016


1931 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Then please spell it out for me. Which songs? Which moment? If it exists, it is either overshadowed by the chuggy guitars or is way to brief for me to consider it as such.

GreyShadow
March 9th 2016


1931 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

If you're referring to the choruses, then sure, there is indeed a melody there, but that's just a basic song being a basic song. When I think of a "melodic" music, I think of songs layered with beautifully crafted guitar work, keys, or any added instrumentation. You obviously aren't misusing the word, it's just that's what I associate it with. Something like that might have made up for those lifeless verses.

Toondude10
March 9th 2016


11736 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good rev, I feel like they're getting better at creating those catchier songs which is what Unimagine sorely lacked.

Digging: Machine Head - The Blackening

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2016


10196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Good rev, I feel like they're getting better at creating those catchier songs which is what Unimagine sorely lacked."



I still don't understand this, every song on Unimagine had better hooks than this and more varied songs

Toondude10
March 9th 2016


11736 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I never really saw that in Unimagine, after the third or fourth song it all felt the same to me

GreyShadow
March 9th 2016


1931 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

The third and fourth songs on Unimagine are the worst lol. The fifth, A Tale of Outer Suburbia, is completely different from anything else on the album

unaMUSEd
March 9th 2016


1441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Suburbia is the sixth song on Unimagine, A House You Built is fifth.



Also I love every track on both Unimagine and this, but I can't say I prefer one to the other yet.

COMEBACK
March 9th 2016


36 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like the first half of the album a lot, but then it all kind of blends together. Still a good sound, I enjoyed listening to it a few times.

SteakByrnes
March 9th 2016


5326 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The first half is so much stronger than the second half, and I still only think that the first four songs are good. Listening to this album all the way through is such a task, it all sounds the same towards the end. Every song has the same structure, and losing the keyboardist really hurt the instrumentation. I guess the days of Ground Dweller are truly over

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2016


10196 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I guess the days of Ground Dweller are truly over"



yay tbh

GreyShadow
March 9th 2016


1931 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Suburbia is the sixth song on Unimagine, A House You Built is fifth



Oops, I always forget Shapeshifters is after Weight. The worst are Weight and The House You Built. And what's with the Ground Dweller hate? Besides Watchmaker and maybe One Hundred, all of those songs blow these out of the water. The Sower is astounding.

GreyShadow
March 9th 2016


1931 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

and Steak, switch Perspectives with Division Symbols and I agree 100%.



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