For Fans Of
UK’s Heart In Hand have been on fire lately. No, not literally as that would fucking suck, but figuratively speaking of course.
Last year the band came out with guns fully blazing and tattoos recently flaring with their sophomore album, ‘Almost There’. That album ruled beyond sheer belief, so now some grand expectations have been thrown over album number three like a blanket of thick, choking fog. But ‘A Beautiful White’ emerges from the fog determined and looking totally badass as it does. But is it as good as it’s predecessor?
Nope. See, ‘Almost There‘ is the champion runner who crosses the finish line with sparking white teeth shinning and who Tiger Woods fist pumps in all directions. ‘A Beautiful White‘ is the poor bastard in the middle of the pack struggling to breathe and who ultimately won’t make it to the end. Though you can’y say that it isn’t good in its own right, and bless its heart, it really does try!
Musically, the band again hits a solid crossover of clean, melodic elements, with awesome leads and heavy riffs, the odd breakdown or two, and emotionally charged vocals and lyrics. It’s basically what ‘Almost There’ was just with some welcomed reinforced low-end to its mix. Case in point: ‘Mae’ and the title track. These first two songs kick things off in a consistent, flowing manner and assert the band’s melodic hardcore sound more than ever before. Shit, even ‘Poison Pen Letters’ (no, it’s not an Amity Affliction cover) is a short, punchy song and it opens up the gates for the group to show off both their punk rock and heavier influences. Now the issue here is that the band already refined this with the last release, so it feels like a simple continuation. The only thing that’s really been added to the sonic recipe is the awesome and constantly captivating guitar leads and that’s about it. So much like the last album, the band again keeps things rather bittersweet and emotional throughout with the raw screams and the accompanying heart broken lyrics.
Ah, the breakup – taking up more songs and lyrical ideas than is probably necessary.
Heart In Hand have also dropped out a lot of the instrumental tracks that interjected their last album after every couple songs, and this is a good and a bad thing. It’s good because now the flow is unbroken and it suits the heavier style of the record. It’s bad because the massive, grandiose scope of ‘Almost There’ has now been lost. However! There is one instrumental in the form of the terribly titled, ‘…’, which is a short and soft piano interlude, but like the US rapper, Tonedeff, it doesn’t break the flow. There’s also only one guest vocalist on the album – Josh Rogers from Crooks – and that’s not a bad thing either, but it means you’re mainly stuck with Charlie Holmes’ controlled but singular raw scream for the rest of the album. Grating, it can be.
Now none of this is anything that’s new to the genre, but which stuck up party-pooper said that each album had to bring something brand spanking new? Probably the same douchebags who feel the need to write articles about how ‘Rock music is dead’.
Anyway! Where a lot of hardcore and metalcore bands fall short is just in the sheer monotony of their music, as it’s either uninspired song-writing, they have nothing to really say with their music, being in a cluttered genre, and in some cases, a cluster fuck combination of all three. Heart In Hand only really suffer from being one of many, but the quintet do manage to keep their heads well above the saturated depths that have taken countless of the ‘Verb The Noun’, ‘I, X’ or X In Y’ bands (never forget), despite being a somewhat generic act.
When you set the bar so high and you don’t want to do something radically new, well then you kind of have to match or best it. If you don’t, then a slightly itching, unnerving question of, ‘Um, should you have even bothered so soon?’ starts to form.
A Beautiful White
Colours and Chemicals
Poison Pen Letters
New Year’s Eve
My Heart Belongs in Denmark