The Guilty Hands - Desire on a Short Leash - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Guilty Hands - Desire on a Short Leash

by Matt Massara Rating:8 Release Date:2011-02-14

The Guilty Hands' first album Desire on a Short Lease grabs you from the moment you press play. A distorted synth bass line aligned with a catchy clap beat barely prepares you before you're thrown into an ecstasy of imaginative and highly addictive guitar plugs. 'Razor', the band's first single, released late November last year is the epitome of the creativity and appealing nature of this album. There is such a wide and eclectic selection of styles it is hard to pinpoint a genre for this trio. This is every reviewer's dream and the last thing that can be said is that the band doesn't produce interesting sounds. There is a whole mix of drum pads, chimings and harmonies which are analogous with the Futureheads opening album.

Lead singer Gareth Moss plays a prominent part in the album's drive. His strong, powerful voice is quite compelling, and emphasised more so by his ability to change drastically between such extreme tones in perfect transition. He brings a rounded, popularist sound to the band. The manner in which he sings many of the album's songs are reminiscent to early David Bowie. The synth sounds and heavy electric guitar drag them back through to the present.

'Gregory', the band's second single would be suited to being played as part of the token indie section at 2am on a Yate's Friday club night in Lincoln, played inbetween The Killers' 'Mr Brightside' and Kings of Leon's 'Sex on Fire'. 'Gregory' further reflects the strong musical ability displayed throughout the album. It is not the range of sounds alone that should be praised but also the way each note goes to supporting Moss' vocals. It's clear that most of the songs are focused around the vocals, with the instrumentals built around them. This is no bad thing and the guitar and bass often drive the song, presenting focus to the vocals.

One thing which does distract from the marvel surrounding the album is that the lyrics themselves can sometimes appear too basic and simplistic. There is not the adequate imagination given to the lyrics which the songs deserve. 'The Collector', which has the name of the album within its lyrics, demonstrates this point. As the vocals have such strength it is a shame that there isn't more depth to their meaning. But still this shouldn't detract from the merit of the album. It's a good album and the trio deserve their applause. It is a different question as to whether their stronger songs, 'Razor' and 'Guilty Hands', will propel them into centre stage. Perhaps all the masturbating jokes that can be made by referring to their name will help.

Regardless, Desire on a Short Leash is a strong album. But would you like it? That depends. If you love Friday nights out in Lincoln, then yes. If not, I'd suggest listening at home. There's such an eclective selection that there is something for everybody.

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