EP REVIEW: Hands Like Houses (HANDS LIKE HOUSES)
ALBUM Hands Like Houses // ARTIST Hand Like Houses
Conjured in a flurry and pulsing with raw sincerity, the upcoming self-titled EP from Canberra's Hands Like Houses is a reflection of evolution and resilience, fluidly beckoning with thunderous rock tendencies and bold pop glimmers in an earnest and emphatic display.
Following 12 years in existence as a band, it may seem an unlikely time to reveal a self-titled release as an EP during a global pandemic. But for those uninitiated with Canberra's alt rock icons Hands Like Houses, convention is not a word that sets readily in their orbit. Forming in 2008 from the ashes of other bands, Hands Like Houses have since gone on to taste ARIA success, critical acclaim and cultivate a legion of diehard fans all over the globe with their boundless exploration into both the mainstream and darker recesses of the overarching rock genre. And while their 2018 album Anon spiked the group's shift into poppier, polished sonic waters and universal rumination, it's ultimately on the upcoming EP (created in a mere 10 days with the group cooped up in a house all together) that Hands Like Houses check any semblance egos at the door and unleash a raw and ravishing collection of five songs that aptly capture the colourful and chaotic journey this release took to come into the world.
Leading the charge on Hands Like Houses is the hooky The Water, meticulously fusing infectious rhythmics alongside a narrative stuck between fantasy and real-world ruminations on closing doors and finding new ones in the process. And while the stadium vibes are strong on the EP's intro song, it's on Space that we cop a full-blown anthem as HLH reach deep and hurl deep emotives and thunderous backdrops into what is ultimately an ode to emotional claustrophobia and not giving up.
The midway point of Hands Like Houses gifts a pop rock pearler in the form of Dangerous as the HLH gents flirt with playful hooks, affable riffs and throbbing beats in dazzling and bombastic fashion. But while the track on its surface signals at swaggering confidence, Dangerous also encapsulates both the powder keg of emotions the band endured during their whirlwind creation phase for the EP as well as the stark reality of having your confidence ripped to shreds. But despite the heavy themes percolating on the track, Dangerous is a dazzling jewel in the HLH crown (and little wonder the track has been picked up to run during the AFL finals).
Following on from the riotous Dangerous, Hands Like Houses concludes as both a grower and a shower, with the deeply introspective Wired dishing up a shimmering display of creamy guitars and broody vibes, while Stranger ups the swagger with crushing jaunt and chugging rhythmics that collide in an infectious display of bouncy rock that is impossible to resist.
While borne from a desire to explore the inevitable and necessary collisions in life, both creatively and personally, the end result for Hands Like Houses and their self-titled endeavour is an entirely smooth ride bursting bold and bodacious showmanship alongside a convincing and intimate portrayal of the band's creative process and burgeoning vulnerability. A raw yet exuberant outing that will please both those seeking a meaningful connection as well as those just here for some ear candy, Hands Like Houses is a fascinating snapshot of a unique band in a unique moment in time, offering bold respite while also challenging itself to dare greatly; and it more than rises to the occasion.
HANDS LIKE HOUSES WILL UNVEIL THEIR BRAND NEW SELF-TITLED EP NEXT FRIDAY OCTOBER 23 VIA UNFD. FOR MORE INFO HEAD HERE, AND WATCH THIS SPACE FOR AN EXCITING DIVE BEYOND THE NEW RELEASE HAPPENING ON THE SOUNDCHECK EARLY NEXT WEEK!
HANDS LIKE HOUSES:
BY TIANA SPETER