Album Review: Rough Hands ‘Let Me Win Your Hearts And Minds’
Since spawning from the underbelly of the London hardcore scene in 2011, Rough Hands have made a name for themselves as one of the most prolific and exhilarating bands around. Having produced some impressively potent and progressive music over the years there has been plenty excitement around what the Brighton 5-piece had come up with for the debut album ‘Let Me Win Your Hearts and Minds’.
Releasing their self-titled EP in 2013, Rough Hands burst onto the scene causing quite a racket with their aggressive, thrashy sound. A year later they released their ‘Nothing’s Changed’ EP, which we feel isn’t entirely true as this release possessed a more mature and refined sound from its predecessor. While maintaining their aggressive, ballsy sound, Rough Hands were able to tighten things up a bit with tad more sonic exploration.
In typical fashion the Brighton boys come out swinging with opener Choke. With the shrieking vocals, solid riffs, and massive drums, this track kicks things off as a solid nod to the band’s roots with a more mature finesse. Relapsed is the second pre-released single from the album and features a solid build up which is sure to get any crowd moving as it erupts into Alex Dench’s powerful screams. While this track has a similar vibe to some on their previous EP, the aggression and heaviness of the instruments have been turned up to 11!
“The Underlying Negative is extremely stripped back and is essentially a vast, atmospheric instrumental, which is intriguing and risky for a band with such heavy roots.”
Rough Hands then hit us with a solid curveball with Swim In The Blues. This slower, almost grungy track is probably one of the only times you will be able to completely understand what Dench is saying. While it may seem a tad obscure at first listening, this track serves as a nice break after the onslaught of Relapsed. With a Nirvana-esque chorus and an atmospheric interlude, normality soon ensues as our ears are bludgeoned once again by the striking outro. Never get too comfortable! Rough Hands are full of surprises on this album.
Again, a breath of maturity can be seen in the progressive approach applied in Leaving My Will with some interesting spatial and instrumental aspects being added into the heavy mix. Sonically, these pieces fit quite well together and provide a bit more structure while still allowing the heavier choruses to break through without any losing any affect.
This progressive thinking is accentuated in the second half of the album. The Underlying Negative is extremely stripped back and is essentially a vast, atmospheric instrumental, which is intriguing and risky for a band with such heavy roots. Fans could be split on this track, however it definitely provides an excellent opportunity for a very hypnotic and explosive live performance!
Mind At Large and Detrimentum exhibit a very similar grungy vibe to Swim In The Blues, again using the stripped back instrumental space in conjunction with their raw brutality. The vocal changes are refreshing and show off a very different side of Dench’s abilities as well as as impressive development in their writing process. Both tracks will have crowds moshing to their heart’s content with brief breathers allowing the choruses to explode into a erratic frenzies.
“Rough Hands have embraced the notion that sometimes less is more and have produced a mature, highly professional debut album that’ll surely have an immense impact on the hardcore scene.”
Wrapping the album up with the title track, Rough Hands seem to have incorporated most of these little nuances into this colossal closer. Being the longest track on the album, with a fairly lengthy intro, Rough Hands almost give the listener a minute to let the album soak in before erupting into one final assault full of rage!
While Rough hands may not be thrashing around like they did on previous releases, this album is no less heavy. The notion of contrast seems to be what this album is all about. The transition between the mellow, expansive instrumental arrangements and the bone-crunching breakdowns make the heavier parts even more so.
Rough Hands have embraced the notion that sometimes less is more and have produced a mature, highly professional debut album that’ll surely have an immense impact on the hardcore scene. Perhaps we can call this album a manicure for Rough Hands? No hardcore band will like sound of that at first, however in some cases a little tidying and polishing goes a long way, and that’s very evident in ‘Let Me Win Your Hearts and Minds’.
Watch Rough Hands’ Swim In The Blues Below!