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Open Hand - The Dream (Cover Artwork)

Open Hand

Open Hand: The DreamThe Dream (2003)
Trustkill Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I started Open Hand myself and made demos and we decided to go full time, because for me personally, I was way more into what we were playing as Open Hand. Sure, I am into hardcore, but Peter Gabriel is my number one favorite and I wanted to go in that direction. - from the Open Hand bio I .
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I started Open Hand myself and made demos and we decided to go full time, because for me personally, I was way more into what we were playing as Open Hand. Sure, I am into hardcore, but Peter Gabriel is my number one favorite and I wanted to go in that direction.
- from the Open Hand bio

I can honestly say that I've never thought to myself: "Man, I wish someone would mix up some Peter Gabriel into this hardcore." I mean, the thought has never even crossed my mind. I guess I'm just odd that way.

But, since I didn't want a repeat of what happens when a reviewer writes about something where he hasn't researched the bands entire back catalog, B-sides and songs they only played live in 1985, I decided to do some research on Peter Gabriel.

Step One: Find Peter Gabriel Music

I went on the internet, because apparently, there is a ton of music out there, just for the taking as long as you "remove it within 24 hours," though I don't think anyone enforces that. So I fired up a client, and searched for Peter Gabriel. I found quite a few songs, but I couldn't download most of them, so I just grabbed whichever ones seemed the most popular. Then, after I gGabriel in a hardcore band", actually hearing the record actually forced me to abandon said plan, since it doesn't sound like that at all. It sounds more like the evolution of the kind of post-hardcore which has become so popular of late; melodic guitars, metal style breakdowns, and sad emotional vocals. In fact, the band probably has a leg up on some of the post-hardcore scene, since the members are actually former members of hardcore bands, making the post-hardcore tag both appropriate and literal.

Step Four: Actually talk about the record

This record is actually a compilation of the two previous EPs released by Open Hand, and, not surprisingly, you can actually hear the band switch from one to the other. The first five tracks come from Evolutions, and the second half comes from Radio Days. The first EP, is stellar, from the opening This Is the End, a heavy number with soaring vocals, and a pretty killer breakdown, to the album's standout Life As Is, which is one of the best representations of angst-ridden dynamics, indie rock vocals, and a wall of distortion I've ever heard. The remainder of the first five songs is powerful, intense stuff.

The second half seems to careen all over the place. Acoustic guitars, and sampled tribal chants, and sing-scream vocals. It's tolerable, but disappointing after the single minded urgency of the first half. It's really all over the place, and seems to bring back memories of most of the Braid rip-off bands that appeared after Frame and Canvas.

Step Five: Summarize it

A unique and powerful opening, and an increasingly mediocre second half makes The Dream an uneven affair. Of course, this record isn't in chronological order, and the second half of the record is mostly tracks from five years ago. The first half is truly where the band shines, and I hope it's the direction they follow for their full length. If I was reviewing the EPs alone, the first would get four stars, the second, two; So I'll split the difference and give it three.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 2, 2003)

hmm, just downloaded "life as is" and my first impression was not one of "post hardcore" but of an almost radio friendly band with a tinge of hardcore. maybe just hard pop.

Anonymous (February 2, 2003)

" And by the way that Jeff guy is probably one of the bigest pricks I have ever met in the St. Louis "punk scene." He is the epitome of a rich stuck - up asshole, who is in love with himself.
"

If I could dance like jeff and I had been in not waving and been witness to synchronized scissor kicks, I'd love myself too.

wyzo

Anonymous (January 31, 2003)

Peter Gabriel used to eat his own turds on stage. Will these "dudes" be following that trend as well?

Anonymous (January 29, 2003)

Ummm, to me this sounds contrived and exactly what a million other bands are trying to do right now. They are good musicians but it has zero originality.

And by the way that Jeff guy is probably one of the bigest pricks I have ever met in the St. Louis "punk scene." He is the epitome of a rich stuck - up asshole, who is in love with himself.

hungryjoe (January 29, 2003)

aubin scores points for being the only reviewer to use this internet thing to it's full potential, and make reviews not only an enjoyable read, but look good. C'mon people, it's not hard to use those half-dozen html tags you learned in grade 10. Or just click the goddamn buttons that are under the box you type your review in.

TheBouncingSoul (January 28, 2003)

great band, nice review

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

not waving was much better. I saw open hand open for waving on waving's last tour, and they slayed. slayed. Like first blood stallone slayed.

abileneINlove (January 28, 2003)

Jeff formerly of Not Waving But Drowning now plays bass in this band. In my opinion, worlds better than NWBD.

I'm not sure I get the Peter Gabriel influence.

The singer has a great voice, a really earthy tenor and he falters not live. I saw them open for Fairweather and they were better than them.

Jeff makes thier live show awesome at least in STL. He was going nuts, like jumping in the crowd and doing his patened howl. We know it well.

I know it from Too Young The Hero, some know it from Dig*Doug and some NWBD. This album reeks of contrivity but just enough flava to give it staying power. I'd watch these guys, they won't put out "A Shape Of Punk To Come," but they may slip a "Won," on us.

I will shoot and kill my roommate.

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

you should have mentioned the amazing drumming.

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

Aubin, you remind me more and more of some crazy old writer every time I read a new review of yours. They get better, but also kinda weirder. I can just imagine you in seclusion in a bathrobe, with long hippy hair, a beard and unclipped fingernails.

-sickboi

lou-s (January 28, 2003)

i saw this band a few weeks before they got signed to trustkill... i can't even remember who all they played with, but they put on one of the better shows that night, i was quite impressed, and they gave away free pins and stickers so they get credit for the free shit

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

aren't these guys from santa clarita?? don't they lose points for location alone?. ha! ...14 y/o girls rule yr face off.

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

bland

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

Fine review, Aubin.

-Bryne at school

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

these guys better close their hands on my unit.

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

That was a fun review!

Anonymous (January 28, 2003)

Hey Kurt, did you know I like the smell of my hand after it's been in my butt?

Kurt_F (January 28, 2003)

I saw these guys 4 or 5 months ago. Nobody had a clue who they were, they were on tour and were opening for a local poppy, nerdy math-rock band, so they were obviously out of place. I thought they were great though, and afterwards thier bassist/background singer guy was selling merch, and I noticed Trustkill stickers. I inquired about them and he informed me they had just signed. So I bought "Evolutions" and listened to it at home. It's pretty good, but they are better live. More intense, more screaming, but not the trendy kind. Anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is that they are good and seem like nice, humble guys.

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