Brit rockers, Heart in Hand, kick-off their second album “Almost There” locally on May 14th. Produced by Pedro Texeira, they blend together melodic, transcendental instrumentals along with barking lyrics that define their hardcore roots. Front man, Charlie Holmes and crew are apparently excited about what the band calls, “quite simply a masterclass in how to create a truly engaging Hardcore record.”
One should be able to appreciate some real talent from this group. In “Old Tattoos”, I was caught up in the ethereal guitar play between Ollie Wilson and Ed Hartwell. It’s perhaps the best (nearly) three minutes on the entire CD that is distantly akin to Dream Theatre. And, you’ll see the same kind of play under tracks “Proposal” and “Vows”. Wilson and Hartwell have no trouble flipping the switch back to the hard stuff to accompany Holmes as well.
I’m not certain I’d be quick to call this one a “masterclass” but Heart in Hand certainly wears their collective heart upon their sleeve in this installment. I give props to Holmes for actually sounding coherent throughout the majority of the CD. But, I have genuine concern for him when I hear the lyrics. For example, from their title track, “You’re the one. Can you save me from myself? Keep me by your side (and) don’t let me go.” I feel that I’m handling someone who is emotionally unstable, and that I should be careful with what is written here. Matters get worse, psychologically, under the eighth track “Old Tattoos.” “I don’t know how I always find a way to forgive you, but I do. And, I always will. I’m nothing without you.” It’s like an anthem for unhealthy, dependent relationships. If you can relate to these lyrics, seriously, seek help. I digress.
I have to admit, the band play on the instrumentals seemed to showcase this band’s talent at its best. Set aside the merits I paid to Holmes for the relative clarity in his singing, but there appears to be a rift in the caliber of performance from when he sings and when he does not. It should be noted that this difference could be a deliberate attempt to move the listener with what the band describes as “soaring peaks and bitter lows.” Blending together dream-like instrumentals with typically harsh metalcore lyrics was entertaining and done well. Nevertheless, I can’t help but recognize the prophetic nature of the album’s title.
For more information, visit the band on Facebook: Facebook.com/heartinhandukmh