Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hands - Massive Context EP (2012)


It was a case of continuous mistaken identity that brought Los Angeles band Hands to my attention. Jess over at exfm would ask me if was going to see Hands every time I would see her and was usually enroute to an ARMS show. Followed by Jess realizing her error and noting that another one of her friends over at Small Plates Records was really into them. After so many times of that happening it only made clear and logical sense to check them out.

Hands are a foursome from Los Angeles - not any of the other bands with an apparent claim to the name abroad. Their most recent EP, Massive Context, was released on Small Plates Records and simply put: it's a thing of beauty. Short but by no means stunted, Massive Context is a thoroughly engaging set of 6 songs that blossom and flourish with intricate instrumentals, catchy, memorable melodies, and Geoffrey Halliday's pleasant, skyward-reaching tenor. Though not rapid-fire paced, Hands plays with an undeniably vivacious energy as they weave immersive sonic tapestries with a forward-moving pop slant. All the while their tunes take a much appreciated time to establish themselves, they never rush out of the gate to capture your attention, instead they plod away at their own pace building intensity and explosive potential which often realizes itself through Halliday's expressive vocals.

The result is an absolute triumph of an EP, Massive Context is a record that can stand the test of nearly endless repeated play - each listen revealing some new piece of Hands' puzzled compositional stitchwork and inextinguishable talent and charm. A record you can't merely put on and forget about but catches your total attention and focus.

You can order Hands' Massive Context EP on CD and vinyl over at Small Plates Records, as well as purchase digitally from Amazon or iTunes. The album's also available for streaming on Soundcloud and Spotify.

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