Hands can be so many things: welcoming, scolding, loving, clenched into a fist. With Hands as your name, you have to both capture emotion and prove that the music you create with your own is worthy of the moniker. Luckily these Hands are up to the challenge.
Hands makes music like a rip tide, swirling in overlapping loops and riffs, slowly enveloping you. The group’s members – Geoff Halliday, Ryan Sweeney, Sean Hess and Alex Staniloff – craft their hypnotic sound from a single dropping note that builds into a reverberating roar that crashes over you like a wave. It’s a mesmerizing trick that they pull off on their debut LP, Synesthesia. Building off the success of their Massive Context EP (Small Plates) released in 2012 and a 7” to be released on White Iris in January, songs like “Videolove” and “Trouble” show Hands’ innate ability to blend instruments and electronics into a deep texture that moves ethereally through genres. Hands moves from rock to synth-pop to skyrocketing stadium anthem, often within the same song. The interplay of Sweeney’s esoteric guitar riffs, Hess’ technical tempos, Staniloff’s thumping bass and Halliday’s soaring vocals and affected keyboards help Hands build a dynamic atmosphere, where a lesser band would only manage empty atmospherics.
A relative newcomer to the LA scene, Hands began as a two-piece from Philadelphia before Halliday and Sweeney headed west and added the low and thump of Hess and Staniloff. The band made a mark on the scene immediately, quickly playing packed shows across the country including stops at SXSW, CMJ and Deluna Fest, headlining Echo Park Rising, sessions with Daytrotter, and a west coast jaunt with Maps and Atlases. Hands’ ability to win over fans with their feverish live show and dance-party-ready sound has already earned them opening spots for the likes of Deerhoof, DeVotchKa, Foster the People, and Kimbra as well as playing shows to sold out crowds at venues across LA.
For now, Hands’ graceful and danceable indie rock is still under the radar, as evidenced by their spot in TIME Magazine’s “11 Bands You Don’t Know (But Should)” List, but they are quickly rising to the surface, bringing their melodies and thumping beats with them. Over the past year, Hands has built a devoted following for their evolving palette of sounds, soaring melodies, and complex looping song structures. With overwhelming responses to first listens of the record and Hands hitting the road for most of 2013, surely this is the year that Hands will start to make waves. Big big waves.