September 12, 2014 Hands Like Houses – reimagine (Album Review)
Hands Like Houses have put a new spin on releasing their new five song EP set to drop on Rise Records September 16th. For this release they did not write any new songs nor did they simply go acoustic with favorites from their 2013 release Unimagine; this EP is comprised of five alternate versions of the songs deconstructed and cleverly named reimagine. Each song received a new song title each fitting in the theme of being something familiar but entirely different than the original. The ability of the six-piece group to recreate songs that are fan favorites and change their sound entirely as if they were brand new songs showcases just how skilled and talented the group is. While the lyrics remain the same the sound makes each song unique and entirely its own. It is impressive to hear a song that you have played countless times, which was crafted so fantastically the first time, now with an entirely new spin on it.
The first song on the EP is titled “Recollect” it is the rendition of “Shapeshifters”. The original song has a very fast faced, and upbeat tune which makes it a very exciting song for both live and private home listening. “Recollect” takes a new form starting off with fast clapping and a quick beat as before but with a much more melodic sound. The recreated “Recollect” allows frontman Trenton Woodley to show off his vocal abilities and the beautiful tone of his voice even more than the original song. “Revive” is the next song on the EP and is the recreated version of “Introduced Species”. “Revive” slows down the original pace considerably and takes a more relaxed, calm sound. The guitar work by Matt Cooper, Joel Tyrell, and Alex Pearson is wonderfully displayed all throughout the song and an interesting bongo beat from Matt Parkitney adds yet another unique element to the song. “No Parallels” is certainly one of the groups most well known and loved songs. The reimagined “Rediscover” is sure to elicit the same reaction from fans. The song takes on a relaxed but still upbeat feel that will have fans swaying along to some of their favorite lyrics.
Both “Release” and “Reflect” recreations of “A Tale of Outer Suburbia” and “Developments”, respectively, have more of a traditional acoustic feel while still remaining unique and original. Both take a much slower pace than the other three songs on Reimagine. “Release” starts with a particularly slow sound as Woodley sings the first few lines with very little music accompanying the vocals. The rest of the song has very simple and calm music supporting and complimenting the strong vocals wonderfully. “Reflect” is the final song off of reimagine and also starts with very minimal music behind soft and calm vocals. Where the pace accelerates in “Developments” “Reflect” maintains a relaxed demeanor while demonstrating powerful controlled vocals. Towards the end of the song the vocals and music is more intense with backing vocals becoming more pronounced and with the music remaining slow but much stronger than the rest of the song.
Woodley explains that the album “isn’t an acoustic record for us, that would be like saying Unimagine was a drum and bass album. Reimagine is a parallel and a discovery of Unimagine…” which could not be a more accurate way of describing the new album. While each song retains some of the original elements because they are lyrically the same, they are entirely new songs with a new life to them. There is much more to each song than a simple acoustic version would have had. Each song features a unique and original sound often featuring bongos and maracas, instruments that do not typically make their way into songs these days. reimagine is a wonderfully created EP that puts a fun spin on old favorites. CrypticRock gives this EP 4.5 out of 5 stars.