If any band from the Warped Tour scene deserves to have a truly massive break, it’s Hands Like Houses. 2014’s incredible sophomore effort ‘Unimagine’ hinted that such an explosion was well within their reach, and since then, their traction has been building and building. Third album ‘Dissonants’ is the culmination of such a rise, but does it match up to its predecessor?
The answer is no, but not by much. To live up to ‘Unimagine’ would’ve been a tough act for any band, but Hands Like Houses have certainly done it justice. The base sound hasn’t changed that much – straight-up, anthemic rock with a super slick electronic coat – but there’s a bit more bite this time around, especially on the likes of ‘I Am’ and ‘Stillwater’. It’s a refreshing touch, and one that only adds to their already malleable nature.
It’s where they stick to what they know where they’re at their best though. ‘New Romantics’ and ‘Motion Sickness’ are ample proof that their supply of blockbuster choruses isn’t even close to running dry, while Trenton Woodley’s vocals are once again the star of the show (seriously, ‘powerhouse’ would be an understatement), especially on the likes of ‘Glasshouse’ and ‘Grey Havens’.
If there’s a complaint to be had – and this is a seriously minor nitpick – it’s that ‘Dissonants’ lacks that little spark of variety that ‘Unimagine’ had, but that can be brushed off easily enough. On its own, ‘Dissonants’ is another home run for Hands Like Houses, and yet more evidence for why they’re one of the most talented modern rock bands around.
‘Dissonants’ by Hands Like Houses is released on February 26th on Rise Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)