Album Review – Hands like Houses – Dissonants (2016)

Availability: Rise Records (pre-order)


Australian rock band Hands like Houses’ new album, Dissonants, is due for official release on 26th Feburary 2016. Last month, on 27th January, the band also premiered their new single from the album called Colourblind, which can be found on their official Facebook page (Hands like Houses), and YouTube channel.

They’ve currently listed for their 2016 international tour during the summer months (May 6th – June 4th 2016), which can be found on their official website, and their new album can be pre-ordered on their record label’s official website (listed above).


I Am is a wonderful opening track for the album, it’s powerful, and melodic. It manifests what fans of post-hardcore, experimental and alternative rock will want to hear, and it may even be to those who are into modern progressive genres (including djent)’s liking. Trenton Woodley’s vocals are incredibly energetic, and the song alone just keeps the listener on their toes.  He is the hybrid of Patrick Stump of Fall out Boy, and Adam Lambert, with his lack of fear of soulfulness and testing how far he can stretch his voice.

What follows in Perspectives is a song that is much more forlorn, interlaced with what is hope in the lyrical content.  Instrumentally, I feel this track is more inclined to the darker elements of alternative rock, and alternative metal, which other bands such as Katatonia have successfully combined in their later installments of their discography, with the introduction using elements of industrial.

Colourblind blends both milder techniques of rock, with metal, synthesizers being at the forefront; not dissimilar to nu-metal/alternative metal band Linkin Park’s albums Meteora (2003), A Thousand Suns (2010) and All Living Things (2012), and this time the lyrics are very politically demonstrative, speaking of the growing apathy within civilization.

New Romantics takes a similar root, with synthesizers still being a key component, with an additional introduction to what sounds like electronic rock/electro-industrial, which can be reflects to bands such as Celldweller, and comparable to the composition of Blackstar (2012). Prior to this, the opening also touches on acoustic and ambient qualities.

Glasshouse has a new sound to this track, like their opening track, Hands like Houses venue back to the prominence of their bassist, Joe Tyrrell, whom has inspiring djent chugging. This particular track actually reminds me of the works of Thirty Seconds to Mars A Beautiful Lie (2005), and This is War (2009), with their tracks Kings and Queens, and This is War being referencing points;  with the strength to Woodley’s vocals and at pure focus, and the distortion between intervals. Division Symbols could be a companion piece, for it continues on with the ambience, however, the approach Woodley uses in his voice comes to sound mournful, enforcing a narrative of giving up, but find new inner strength.

Stillwater is a traditional rock track, reverting back to their post hardcore sound, with their lyrics being ballad like, with the occasional scream – which is heavily Chester Bennington like, notably from LP’s Minutes to Midnight (2006) era – chronicling an internal Armageddon like scenario of someone struggling against themselves, trying to overcome their own obstacles. Momentary takes the band back into the ambient and acoustic direction, with an interpretation of perhaps indie rock, for its lighter production.

Motion Sickness will be the third track on the album to maintain ambience as it’s forerunning into a song, and the second to follow a softer approach, Momentary’s companion piece if you will, as both Motion Sickness and Momentary contain inflections which have previously been used by the likes of Adam Young, of Owl City.

Degrees of Separation storms in with a hybrid between post-hardcore and finely tuned, adult contemporary like pop-rock, for its easy listening structure, however the lyrics are once again contain a hidden mournful texture of longing. This kind of play was commonly used by Queen, and Tears for Fears who would fuse dark storytelling with light musical tones, disguise them or construct them to the point where it would be a subliminal message or undertones.

Grey Havens returns to pure post-hardcore, with djent qualities, musically a fusion between Young Guns and TesseracT, with the vocalist Ashe O’Hara (Altered States, 2013) prior to his departure the following year. Woodley, like O’Hara is afraid to really break the barriers of his voice, which is complicated noticeably with the bass and guitars, performed by Matt Cooper.

Bloodlines is another powerful track, and the perfect departure to the end of the album, with it being full on rock. It is a positive message, seeking the knowledge to move forward and find oneself, putting aside obstacles to achieve that goal.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s