Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chalk Hands – Burrows & Other Hideouts

Chalk Hands EP Sleeve R2 OL
note: before I get going with this I just want to say that I have not been paid in any way to give a favorable review of this release   

    One very cool , but infrequent, thing that has occurred in this blog's history would be submissions for review by outside artists. The idea that anyone would think I would enjoy their band is pretty awesome. And I really like the idea of being introduced to new music anyway . I've also lucked out that I've enjoyed what has been shown to me. (Umm hello? Damages much?)

    Chalk Hands are no exception. "Burrows & Other Hideouts" is the debut EP by this Brighton, UK screamo band. And once again, if you've followed this blog long enough, you will know that when I say screamo, I'm not talking about something you will see on a T-shirt at a Hot Topic. Chalk Hands play a style of the genre that is also known as skramz. A lot of people also refer to this as “real” screamo. Chalk Hands encompasses a lot of the genre staples. But not in a way that ever feels derivative. The semi-titular first track of the EP, "Burrows", opens with a guitar line that straight up feels like it could be a b-side off one of Envy’s more recent outings. Eventually, the song blasts ahead full force in a tune that, overall, feels more so like a pre-“Keep You” Pianos Become The Teeth. With some sweet Suis La Lune-esque guitar leads and "Enter" era Russian Circles tapping. Hell, parts of it even remind me of pre-“Smother” Frameworks songs. Tonally, the second song, "Arms", is a much darker sounding song musically. But at the same time, it has moments that are extremely triumphant and, honestly, beautiful. Its the stuff that hits home and resonates and makes you feel something inside yourself. The song's exploding "breakdown" leads right into a somber and quiet interlude. Only to jump back in with intense guitars & high energy drumming that bring to mind "Parting The Seas…" era Touché Amoré. You know, the good stuff. The vocals on the EP remind me somewhat of how Jordan Dreyer of La Dispute has and can sing at that band's most aggressive moments.

    Without being too over-the-top, I can definitely say that this is a awesome first release. I know that this review has a lot of band name checking . But that's honestly just for reference so you as the reader can grasp some idea of what these 2 tracks encompass musically. Do I think Chalk Hands sound exactly like all of the bands I mentioned in this review? No. But they have a lot of different elements from a lot of those very good and important bands. And they blend those elements together in a seamless way that makes the music their own. Like I said early on, they never feel like they're imitating. They feel musically like they are a peer to a lot of the bands that they remind me of and, potentially, draw influence from. And for a band that is newer and not a long-established act, I think that is quite a feat. I know that for me personally, I am sold. And I will continue to follow them & the music they release in the future.
Skramz for life yo.

Download & Listen To The Album Here