One of Rise Record’s most recent products, Hands Like Houses’ Ground Dweller received a considerable level of anticipation prior to its release. Well-written musical parts matched by vocals reminiscent of Tyler Carter and Jonny Craig (both even appear on a few tracks as guest vocalists) were cause for a lot of speculation that they were well on their way to becoming one of Rise’s better known acts.
Despite all the hype, the Australian six piece’s 11-track debut comes off as lacking diversity upon a handful of listens. To a new listener, it is rather difficult to distinguish one track from another. Every song has the same general structure, featuring very similar vocals (the guest appearances are even a bit tough to pick out) and slightly abstract electronic elements, while incorporating some heavy moments (breakdowns, but no screams) into songs that generally keep the same tempo. If any specific tracks manage to stand out from the others on the record, they would certainly be “Watchmaker” (featuring Matty Mullins) and “Lion Skin” (featuring Tyler Carter and Jonny Craig). The raw talent is all there: Hands Like Houses just has not completely channeled it as of yet.
As a whole, Ground Dweller is a fair place for the band to start. The lack of diversity on the record is a disappointment as it comes from a band with so much potential. However, if Hands Like Houses manages to put together some more creative songs on their next effort, they will undoubtedly be able to stand out from a lot of other bands throughout the scene.
Go listen to: “Watchmaker”