Going into this review I had only ever heard brief clips of material by Australian quintet, Hands Like Houses, but upon the first thirty seconds of listening to the lead track ‘I Am’ off their newest full length ‘Dissonants’ I instantly became a fan. Dissonant is defined as something that is disagreeing or harsh in sound; discordant and this album is the furthest thing from that.
These dozen songs come together and blend in a perfect sequence that flows from song to song to song. This is an album that you can easily listen to on repeat for hours and not even realize it because the final track ‘Bloodlines’ transitions so well back to ‘I Am’. I know I did upon my first few listens to this album. Reflecting back to their past albums, which I gave a listen, Dissonants has what seems to be a much more grander, atmospheric sound than their previous works. Songs like ‘Perspectives’ and ‘Colourblind’ would do well being played in either a small rock club or a giant, wide open arena.
Vocalist Trenton Woodley’s vocals soar over drummer Matt Parkitny’s heartbeat steady drumming as the guitar and bass work are perfectly sandwiched in there, complete with even a bit of bass getting fresh air as heard in ‘New Romantics’. Each song’s hook is infectious and soon will have you tapping your foot along to the beat without even knowing it.
The haunting sound of ‘Division Symbols’ pull you in with Woodley uttering the words “let me count the ways you kill me” before crescendoing into an epic chorus and bridge that is utterly reminiscent of a Thirty Seconds to Mars anthem if they embraced screaming. Meanwhile, two songs later, in ‘Momentary’ they channel the fallen spirit of Anberlin with complex guitars and a vocal performance comparable to Stephen Christian at their peak.
Anthemic and arena filling, this album refuses to let up even in its final tracks. ‘Degrees of Separation’ continues at a reckless pace as the atmospheric vibe increases into the stratosphere. Complete with gang vocals and a dual vocal situation, you’d think they couldn’t raise the bar any higher with this album but yet they do. The album closes out with what could be possibly one of the most anthemic tracks on the whole album. Woodley singing the words “If I’m the bastard child of best intentions, If I’m the bitter voice of discontent, If I’m the broken hope of indecision, At least my futures in my hands.’ it slowly grows with gang vocals and a rolling drum beat in the background until the final chant reaching its peak and the track retreats to its closing notes.
With bands like Pvris, Bring Me the Horizon and Twenty One Pilots making their way into the mainstream, if Hands like Houses continues on their current course they could be poised to be the next band to make that leap.