Human Hands - Human Hands (12"-LP)
Human Hands are a band from Birmingham, England, and their sound is reminiscent of 90s emo bands in the vein of Indian Summer, particularly their use of tension building. The opening track "Disease" is a prime example of using a pull-and-release method to build tension without sounding too drawn out. They employ simple, effective guitar riffs throughout the album which work in conjunction with their build-ups in such a way that every minor change feels monumental. All the band members show a great deal of restraint, and the result is rewarding. Over the course of the seven minute opening track there are almost-inperceivable subtleties that continue to build before culminating in an explosive finish. The vocalist coincides nicely with this, gradually increases the level of catharsis as the track progresses and giving a nice feeling of unity. The vocals throughout the album are sparse, which works to the album's advantage. If they were too frequent they could have easily hindered the impact of the instrumental builds. The mixing of the vocals is also worth noting, as they truly sound as if they were sung in the same room as the listener, hiding just bellow the swell of the instrumentals (when I first listened to "Disease" I had to look over my shoulder, as the vocals caught me off guard). The singer is similar to Jonathan Vance in his spoken/shout delivery, and in "String" the backup vocalist sings an unsteady melody akin to Penfold. While name-dropping various 'quintessential emo' musicians may seem unnecessary, it is important to draw attention to how successfully Human Hands capture the essence of their influences while still sounding fresh. Human Hands is powerful, yet subtle. Every song succeeds at delivering a satisfying experience, and the album as a whole is uplifting, utilizing modest instrumental and vocal abilities to deliver music that is both raw and painstakingly composed. For fans of emo old and new, Human Hands' debut is a must-listen.
- Sputnik Music
Out on: Time As A Color / Strictly No Capital Letters / Cross Your Heart And Hope To D.I.Y.
Listen & Download: http://humanhands.bandcamp.com/album/s-t-lp