Reaching Hand - Threshold (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Reaching Hand

Threshold (2009)

Thorp / Chorus of One

Female voices have been a part of punk all the way through its evolution, from Nico and the Velvet Underground to X-Ray Spex and the Avengers through modern bands like Lemuria and Deadly Sins. But frontwomen have been markedly less abundant in the hardcore scene, clustered mostly among crust and thrashier styles with bands like I Object and Bring That Shit. But there aren't too many bands playing Comeback Kid-styled youth crew revival with female vocalists, and that's where Reaching Hand comes in.

Hailing from the unlikely sanctuary of Portugal, Reaching Hand has made inroads into the U.S. on Thorp Records and covered Europe via Chorus of One with their debut EP, Threshold, after forming in 2007. In five songs -- all hovering around or below the two-minute mark -- Reaching Hand effectively demonstrates their fresh take on hardcore while drawing parallels to many of today's biggest names.

With seemingly little time for intros, outros or breakdowns in their succinct songs, the opener "Time and Again" spends 45 seconds building before snapping into a shifty time signature and strong shouting by lead vocalist Sofia O. Absent gang vocals, the Comeback Kid comparisons are readily evident in the chord patterns and song structure, and serves as a nice warm-up to the balls-out -- err, rather, ovaries-out -- screamer "Insight." Even communicating through their second or third language, the vehemence on "Settle the Score" is palpable, as Sofia asserts, "I took enough of your shit, won't take it anymore / It's time we settle the score." While the title track punches forth with heavyweight gusto, the final cut "What We're Missing" has an almost pop-punk appeal before the second layer of guitar leads in and lifts the tune into an unmistakably hardcore arrangement.

The music that makes up Reaching Hand's debut EP Threshold is great any way you slice it, but the atypical inclusion of female lead vocals give it something special that very few hardcore bands offer.