Kill Rock Stars, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


What Time Magazine says about a band generally doesn't have much bearing on my interest level in said band. While the LA-by-way-of Philadelphia quartet Hands was hailed by Time as one of the “11 Band You Don't Know (But Should),” here at The Daily Vault, I'd like to amend that sentiment to “The One Electro-Pop Band You Don't Know (But Should).” To be fair, to simply put this debut album under the electro-pop umbrella is doing the young Hands a disservice. There is too much going here for this to be so easily classified. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

What sets the rising Hands outfit apart from the rest of the pack is a seamless blending of melodic indie rock with mammoth-sized stadium rock pieces and '80s sensibilities into a highly danceable, charged pop formula. Another notable point is that all members are highly skilled at their respective instruments, so much so that each subsequent listen will have you picking apart an addictive bass line here or a clever drum fill there.

“Videolove” is a great example of their ability to inject a variety of distinct sounds into one cohesive formula. Equal parts guitar rock and electronica, the strong rhythms and contagious singing could easily make Hands a household name. “Kinetic” follows a similar avenue, only supplanting infectious bass work with animated synth patterns. While the entire album is dance friendly, “Trouble” is especially dance-floor ready, bringing to mind the electro-pop explosion of the early 2000's but much less trite.

The album takes plenty of twists and turns throughout, musically and vocally. Geoff Halliday's falsetto makes an appearance on “Elegant Road,” and the band plunges into darker ideas with the speedy “Brave Motion.” “Take It All” sounds tailor made for a Jon Hughes soundtrack circa 1986 with its assortment of electronic noises, and “House Of Jars” has some of the quietest interludes of the album.

Plenty of bands are taking an approach similar to Hands, but the ingredients are all aligned ever so perfectly to make this stand out brightly amongst the rest. Now if someone could only get Natalie Portman to quip on screen that Hands will change your life.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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