Colour Therapy with Open Hand
Stunningly radiant artwork: the promise of an album made up of contradictions. Duets, Ballads and full out metal in the vein of Sabbath are all to be found within. Is it possible for a band to meander this much without losing track of their aim? It would seem, if you're Open Hand it's achievable.
However short 'Pure Concentrated Evil' is, it can still pack a punch as the opening track, Snarling like a dog on an all too short lead yet also offering velvety soothing vocals, it's a refreshing change to hear a band who are as diverse as most peoples musical tastes. Whereas you may previously have had to change CDs at this point to listen to a warm embrace of mature mid-paced rock, second track 'Her Song' eliminates this aggravation. Startlingly thoughtful, the pleasant groove hiding behind those guitars cries out for a lazy sunset upon a beach. Justin Isham's voice solidifies from this summer softness into the anthemic 'Tough Girl'. Easily one of the standout tracks on this album (along with thirteen others, many will say!) it's polished, slick and built for endurance on radio.
Perhaps you're wondering how you managed not to hear of Open Hand, because with songs that have this jaded reviewer head over heels in love, how could they be on their debut full length album? The blissful pace of 'You and Me' is highly reminiscent of Incubus in their Morning View years...clean and well written. This isn't the type of song with single branded upon its metaphorical forehead, but with chaotic radio anthems such as 'Tough Guy'- the counterpart of 'Tough Girl'- it really doesn't matter. Open Hand have everything you could wish for covered on this album of surprisingly epic proportions. Spiralling in a high pitched beauty, 'The Ambush' is the perfect springboard for 'Take No Action' where Justin finds himself sharing vocal duties alongside Hayley Helmericks.
That isn't all that Open Hand have to present- With the arrival of 'Newspeak' the album lurches off into the undergrowth hiding the type of music you're supposed to get stoned to, purely so you can appreciate its hypnotic depths totally. Every track on this album offers something different from the last and a vast improvement from what you're likely to find in your local music store. Again and again Justin proves just how diverse male vocals can really be... and again and again you find yourself wondering just where Open Hand have been hiding all these years. Even the haunting 'Trench Warfare' can't detract from the general upbeat feeling that flows through this sunshine coloured album.