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Music Review

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Model Citizen


Artist: Hammerhands
Label: Train Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 19 July 2019

Train Records releases Model Citizen, by Hammerhands on limited edition vinyl with artwork by Justin Hunt, on Digipak CD (also with Hunt’s artwork), and for download. Hammerhands is a bleak and heavy band from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The four members comprise Colin Young on guitar and vocals, NJ Borreta also on guitar and vocals, Jon Galletly on drums and vocals, and Justin Hunt on bass. This is their fourth album, following on from 2013’s Glaciers, 2013’s covers EP 1995, and 2016’s Largo Forte. The full track listing is 'Pleasure Island', 'Maximum Beta', 'Do It Right', 'I’m Not Here', 'Too Many Rivers', 'Dad Sludge', 'That Awful Sound', 'Not In the Cards', and 'Bastard Jesus'...

Hammerhands could be described as Stoner/Noise Rock, Doom Metal, Fuzz/Trash, Alternative or Industrial Metal. I would describe them as all of those things and more. It’s definitely a cross-over in terms of genres and influences. This is also an album of two halves. Although solid and kicking a punch, as they say, I didn’t recognise any individualism until track 5. 'Too Many Rivers' has a drums, bass and keys slow melody, with vocals that follow it precisely. To all the world it sounds like it should be in a dark musical, and it’s that tinkling macabre feel which makes it special. The vocals become more gruff halfway through the song, and the guitar plays around the central theme. It’s a very nicely structured song; the pick of the bunch on offer here.

'That Awful Sound' is also well worth a listen. It has a nice soft guitar intro with a heavy back beat. For me, the vocals don’t seem to fit this at all, which is a shame because I like the slightly eerie melody followed by the heavy crashes for the chorus parts. The singer, however, sounds like a drunk, ranting preacher. Perhaps that was what he was going for! Nevertheless, it’s a pretty good song which gets more frantic as it goes on, before using sound effects for the outro. The best song after 'Too Many Rivers' is 'Not In The Cards'. This is a very effective acoustic number, full of atmosphere and melody.

The band is very tight as a unit. Those two favourite tracks I’ve mentioned prove just how inventive Hammerhands can be within their chosen genre realm. However, I found the others a little mediocre.


Ty Power

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