Album Review: Hands Like Houses - Dissonants

19 February 2016 | 3:13 pm | Carley Hall

"Throughout all there is more optimism than cynicism."

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Canberra five-piece Hands Like Houses have been slaying audiences with their amazingly tight melodic metal for a few years now, but it's really only since the release of last year's single New Romantics that a more sizeable crowd has sat up and taken notice. That blistering gem bounced around airwaves and put the boys squarely on the perfect platform to launch their third album. But does it live up to already heightened expectations?

The short answer is… oh hell yes. What singer Trenton Woodley and co manage to do with their 50-odd minutes is pretty epic. While heavy lines and gutsy ferocity underpin each song, there's a vibrant, pulsating energy driving each and every one of these complex arrangements. Single I Am kicks things off with that same tenacity, with spiralling guitars then almost empty moments that let Woodley's high-wire warble shine. It's this light and shade that weaves its magic through Colourblind, which snaps and crackles over tight kit-work and rampant lines, as do the infectious Perspectives and Motion Sickness.

Throughout all there is more optimism than cynicism. Stillwater and the aforementioned New Romantics embody this sentiment with it's will to "try to find myself/coming back to the same words/to tell a different story". They are lyrics that reach for something hopeful rather than a base assessment of the cruel world that sometimes surrounds us, and on that point Dissonants differentiates from some of its hardcore peers and scores highly.