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Handsome - Handsome (Cover Artwork)

Handsome

Handsome: HandsomeHandsome (1997)
Sony Music Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 5


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

Far's 1998 release Water & Solutions continues to receive praise - much more than it did during its original release - from the post hardcore/emo crowd for being one of the most influential records of the late 90's. It was a damn good record indeed. However, one more deserving masterpiece of an albu.
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Far's 1998 release Water & Solutions continues to receive praise - much more than it did during its original release - from the post hardcore/emo crowd for being one of the most influential records of the late 90's. It was a damn good record indeed. However, one more deserving masterpiece of an album, in my opinion, rests quietly beneath all of this hype. In fact, this measly review will probably be the first exposure that record has received anywhere in the press in years.

Handsome's 1997 self-titled debut somehow evaded the spotlight in the 90's and oddly enough (considering the current climate of today's punk scene) continues to find itself ignored to this very day by fans who would undoubtedly fall in love with it upon first listen. Not even the fact that ex-members of beloved bands like Quicksand, Murphy's Law/Cro-Mags and Helmet were in the band seems to help attract attention to what I would consider one of the best releases of the '90s.

Why is this so?

Is it the band name? Maybe. Handsome was released at the same time the ghastly "Hanson" phenomenon was taking over the country. Hanson. Handsome. The two were very similar sounding. What "punk" fan would want to be confused with fans of those pre-pubescent teen idols when wearing a Handsome t-shirt? Still though, something this mundane could not have resulted in the complete dismissal of a band this amazing.

Was it the fact that they were on Epic, a major label? Maybe, but I seriously doubt it. So was Quicksand. So was Far!

So what was it? I guess that will just have to remain one of the music industry's great mysteries.

One thing that is certain, however, is that each time I swipe the dust off of the jewel case and pop this disc into the stereo I experience what would probably be best described as a sense of discovery. Imagine a botanist stumbling upon a previously undiscovered species of plant life. Picture the excitement he/she must feel knowing that they are witnessing something special before the rest of the world's eyes are even aware of it's existence. Each listen feels like a quiet discovery. Each song creates a vivid feeling of urgency. I know, this all probably sounds far too dramatic for a record review, but it should. Handsome is a solid album from the start of track 1 to the last note of track 12.

Songs like "Left of Heaven," "Thrown Away," and "Dim the Lights" are timeless. In fact, if this record were re-released in its exact state under a different title today, no one would be able to tell that it was put on wax almost a decade ago. The smooth tempo changes, ambient guitar textures and incredibly infectious choruses grab me immediately and completely erase everything outside of that moment in time.

Elements of Quicksand, Into Another, Seaweed, Helmet, and other bands of that era were undeniably evident in Handsome's sound. The same start-stop riffs, time changes and driving melodramatic chords heard from those bands were found on this album showered by tasteful drum work and singer Jeremy Chatelain's Jonah-ish vocals. All of it is further accented by the excellent production of Terry Date.

Each song on this record is amazing. There's no filler on Handsome. It's just a shame that so few people have experienced its magic. Do yourselves a favor and pick this one up. You may have to search the web for hours to finds a used copy of Handsome, but trust me it will be worth it.

 

 
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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 (November 25, 2004)

Walter's new project, Walking Concert, is very different, but very cool.

Anonymous (November 24, 2004)

"in conclusion. why am i one of 2 people i know who listens to quicksand?"

I met Walter the other day. He is still the man.

Anonymous (November 23, 2004)

i've never been able to listen to perfecting lonliness all the way through. It just bores me. The weakerthans have never written a bad song though...weakerthans>jets to brazil
in conclusion. why am i one of 2 people i know who listens to quicksand?

Then please explain what those three half-assed segues (tracks 1,8, & 14 methinks) are doing on RC. Those things should've been cut from that lame album--total crap. "Time's Arrow" is a royal shitfest too. "Prescience of Dawn" puts me to sleep with its lame attempt at a guitar solo.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (November 22, 2004)

"in conclusion. why am i one of 2 people i know who listens to quicksand?"

because you have dumb friends.

Anonymous (November 22, 2004)

awesome album
i completely forgot about this
i remembe ri went and picked up it after i heard one of the tracks on a sampler i got at lollapalooza 97

Anonymous (November 22, 2004)

Chinatown sucks!

Anonymous (November 22, 2004)

if this is anything like quicksand it will be gold ...but still i'd rather listen to quicksand.

i've never been able to listen to perfecting lonliness all the way through. It just bores me. The weakerthans have never written a bad song though...weakerthans>jets to brazil
in conclusion. why am i one of 2 people i know who listens to quicksand?

Anonymous (November 22, 2004)

Yeah, it was one of the first enhanced discs ever.

Anonymous (November 21, 2004)

I bought that album the year it came out, no joke. But I was young and stupid and I sold it a couple weeks after. I remember there was some enhanced content on the disc....

Anonymous (November 20, 2004)

I love the Weakerthans as much as any self respecting Canuck should. I don't hold any of their stuff save for "Left & Leaving" in the same category as Jtb. Escpecially not "Reconstruction Site"

Barkley

Anonymous (November 20, 2004)

I'm currently studying at an English university in Quebec (ugh), but I'm originally from New-Brunswick.

-Chinatown

janeandfinch (November 20, 2004)

fantastic record, i'd thought it had disappeared into the annals of time

Anonymous (November 20, 2004)

Chinatown where in Canada are you from? Anyways in my opinion all three Jtb discs are great. Perfecting Loneliness is a pretty long-winded disc, but for me I love the shit out of it. Same with the other two.

Barkley

Anonymous (November 20, 2004)

Have you HEARD Perfecting Lonliness? Obviously, it doesn't make that much to make your jaw drop Chinatown.

I loved the first two JTB albums, and everything Blake has done, especially with Jawbreaker. But man, that's garbage.

JTB is my favorite band, so of course I'm biased. I admit that "Perfecting Loneliness" isn't in the same league as "Orange Rhyming Dictionary," but it was definitely a peg up "Four Cornered Night." Anyway, tons of people on this site drooled over the pop stylings of the Weakerthans' "Reconstruction Site," so please let me drool over the pop stylings of "PF."

-Chinatown

Anonymous (November 20, 2004)

Damn. I submitted this review months ago. I thought it got tossed in the trash.

Glad to see a few others enjoyed this record as much as I did.

Icapped2pac (November 20, 2004)

Giving this a 10 is a little much. It does drag a little in parts. But as a huge Quicksand fan, I gotta give this band props for getting me through the tough time after they broke up. Also, thinking about JTB makes me have to take a dump.

Anchors (November 20, 2004)

Have you HEARD Perfecting Lonliness? Obviously, it doesn't make that much to make your jaw drop Chinatown.

I loved the first two JTB albums, and everything Blake has done, especially with Jawbreaker. But man, that's garbage.

Anonymous (November 20, 2004)

Fuck you both. Jets to Brazil is the best active indie band in the world. Their sound is unrivaled. Blake's lyrics are unmatched. They're the only band that can release a 67 minute album and make every single second jaw-dropping.

-Chinatown

SilentStorms (November 20, 2004)

This score is for making the album sound like the greatest thing ever, and for you pretending to be the most underground person ever ... I mean ... ur like subunderground or something. I didn't think that one through did I? Damn.

Anchors (November 20, 2004)

Jets to Brazils last album was absolute garbage.

Score is for "I Typed For Miles, " and Jawbreaker.

HOOKEDonSONiCs (November 20, 2004)

No joke, this CD is amazing. I'd even say better than Water and Solutions...besides, Jonah is a joke now.

All you Thursday fans should DEFINITELY check this out

Anonymous (November 19, 2004)

I owned this album back in the day, I don't know what I did with it.

-notfeelingcreative

Anonymous (November 19, 2004)

I'm glad that Chatelain moved on to much greater things shortly after this dreck.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (November 19, 2004)

good album!

Anonymous (November 19, 2004)

i've been really meaning to get this as a fan of helmet, jtb and quicksand.

Anonymous (November 19, 2004)

why didn't you mention that the singer Jeremy went on to be the bass player in Jets To Brazil, as well as the main guy in Cub Country?

Anonymous (November 19, 2004)

This record is awsome.

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