A band truly shows skill when they can reinterpret their music and rethink their very sound. So, when post-hardcore band Hands Like Houses released an acoustic album, aptly titledReimagine, I had to listen. Hands Like Houses created acoustic versions their favorite songs off of their albumUnimagine (hence the title being Reimagine), and the listener couldn’t be more pleased with this creation. Indeed, each song is re-imagined. This is more than an acoustic album- it’s an entire reinterpretation of their music. It’s a gutsy move, but Hands Like Houses pulls through in showcasing their talent.
‘Recollect’ (originally ‘Shapeshifters’) kicks of the album with an acoustic rendition of a very fast-paced and upbeat track. ‘Recollect’ retains the beat (via handclaps– holy shit!) but now features a more melodic and lulling sound than the original track. Vocalist Trent Woodley definitely shows off his vocal prowess in this track.
‘Revive’ (originally ‘Introduced Species’) is a real gem on this album. There’s a whole new tune and meaning created in this song. It’s now calmer, soothing, and hauntingly beautiful. Engaging vocals from the whole band creates a sort of gorgeously eerie effect as it is paired with a brilliant display of guitar works and bongos. Fucking bongos, guys. You have to listen to this track to truly understand.
Next up is ‘Rediscover,’ their rendition of ‘No Parallels.’ This track is still retains its fast pace, but has a newly developed melodic sound. It will leave you swaying just as much as the original track, guaranteed. It’s just as upbeat and fun as the original, but you can more greatly appreciate harmonies that are generally lost in the distortion in the original track. Moreover, reimagining the overlaying guitar riff as whistling is an extremely brilliant move, and allows for lighter riffs to come through and be heard.
‘Release’ is their revamped ‘A Tale Of Outer Suburbia’, in which an already haunting song becomes even more evocative in its newly reverberated form. The instrumentation perfectly accompanies the soft vocals. It’s a soft, calming track that can accompany autumn walks down lonely roads.
We end with ‘Reflect’ (originally Developments), another hauntingly beautiful song. Woodley displays a great variety in dynamics in this song. It’s gorgeous, and is alternating with the guitar riffs that fade in and out. It creates a perpetuated, eerie effect that raises hairs and also soothes. The muted drums were a perfect pick- no instrument is overpowering. Everything blends perfectly. Of all the songs, this one truly carries the “acoustic vibe” in softness and its light harmonies.
Overall, Reimagine is a gorgeous album. It’s a perfect display of true craft and musicianship as a very post-hardcore-y (for lack of a better term) band turns very acoustic. You need raw talent to do what this band did. Reimagine is a perfect reinterpretation of their music instrumentally and vocally, without any change lyrically. Woodley described Reimagine as “…a parallel and a discovery of Unimagine”, and he couldn’t be more right about this album.Hands Like Houses embodies what it truly means to reimagine- in riffs, in sound, in performance and appearance. Go forth and buy this now; I wouldn’t be caught dead without this must-have release of 2014. (Katt Hass)