Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Record label: Kill Rock Stars
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance
Synesthesia is the sensation of hearing a sound and visualizing a particular color. When listening to Hands’ debut album, you get the feeling that, yes, they are called “Hands” because those are the literal parts of our bodies that grasp onto something or someone. Hands play the instruments that induce you to dance and hear those sounds that make you want to feel it all.
It often seemed like virtually every 2010s indie band was just as able with sequencers and synths as they were with guitars and drums. Hands, which began as the project of Geoff Halliday and Ryan Sweeney, was no exception, and the dense electro-rock on their debut album, Synesthesia, owed as much to the gleaming sounds of Phoenix and Hot Chip as it did to the keyboard-heavy sounds of dance-punk forerunners like Hot Hot Heat. Throughout these songs, the bandmembers prove they're nothing if not self-aware: "Kinetic"'s name is a one-word description of their approach, although the actual song's dub-influenced bassline and reverb-laden production make it one of the more meditative tracks here.
Comprised of members Geoff Halliday (vocals and keyboards), Ryan Sweeney (guitar), Alex Staniloff (bass), and Sean Hess (drums), Hands’ sound is eclectic, possessing the anthemic, gritty elements of rock, the danceability and grooviness of pop, and the bubbly, brilliant nature of electronic music. Never dull, if sometimes overambitious, Hands deliver an overall enjoyable and promising effort. “Trouble” sets the tone, with a solid groove established from the onset.
“Magic Fingers”, the lead single from Hands’ 2012 Massive Context EP, is cringe-worthy. In a failed Michael Angelakos falsetto, singer/keyboardist Geoff Halliday soured faces with his crackling upper-register. Now 12 months later on their debut LP, Synesthesia, Halliday has improved his vocal control and taken a step to the background as the other three members entice an early-summer audience with a refined ear for percussion that adds a twist to trending alt-pop standards.
Hands are pretty useful. It with complete guarantee that hands were used to type this review and all preceding reviews. Despite past attempts to type sentences with feet, noses, chins, elbows or any other body part that possesses the potential geometrical usefulness for computer work, hands are generally considered to be the champion for such uses. It with this completely normal introduction that you are presented with Californian four-piece Hands.