Album review: Australian rock group could be next big ‘thing’

By: Nathan Helferrich – Staff Writer

Australia is best known for the Sydney Opera House, exotic animals, ocean reefs and the oh-so-fashionable Ugg boots. Though not well known in America, the Australian rock band Hands Like Houses is looking to become the next best thing from the land down under with the upcoming release of its third studio album, “Dissonants.”

The highly anticipated album is set to release Friday, following a wave of momentum generated by its most recent singles “Colourblind,” “I Am” and “New Romantics.” “Dissonants” boasts familiar inspiration through producer James Paul Wisner (Paramore, Underoath), who produced the band’s breakout album “Unimagine” in 2013. Needless to say, the band has high hopes that “Dissonants” will propel an Aussie takeover in America’s rock nation.

“Dissonants” comes roaring in with the opening track “I Am,” which touts masterful lyrics to set the identity for the band’s third album. “If I will make a change, it’s by my words and not my name.”

Words are most definitely the driving agent in much of the success Hands Like Houses finds in “Dissonants.” Soon after “I Am” comes the hit single “Colourblind,” which features impressive range in both guitar and vocals. A soothing soft-rock sound scattered throughout the track makes its crescendos all the more enjoyable.

“New Romantics” brings even more energy to the album with a catchy, upbeat vibe. “Glasshouse” is another track off the album that has been receiving high praise. Its ability to keep you on your toes by cycling through fresh and evolving sounds will have you pressing repeat on this one.

“Division Symbols” proves to be a nice break from some of the heavier rock that is spread throughout “Dissonants” and brings an armada of powerful lyrics.

As the eighth track of the album, “Momentary” provides one of the most unique listening experiences on the album. A soft opening and outro are reminiscent of an Imagine Dragons sound while a recurring entrance of well-paced drums breathes life into the track. “Motion Sickness” delivers powerful lyrics worth pondering that complement a wide range of vocals from lead singer Trenton Woodley.

Closing out “Dissonants” is “Bloodlines,” a track that combines a soft, underlying guitar throughout its verses with stratospheric choruses. The big finish that “Bloodlines” ends on leaves the listener yearning for another track.

Even though Hands Like Houses hasn’t redefined rock, they definitely have potential to revitalize Oz rock in America. Passionate vocals, meaningful lyrics and a nice blend of instruments make “Dissonants” an album with 12 tracks that are all deserving of your time. Proving to be a great medium between pop rock and heavy rock, “Dissonants” appeals to a wide range of musical interests. With more albums like this, Hands Like Houses appears to be well on their way toward Australian distinction.