I feel out of touch. Maybe it’s the lack of live concerts but I just feel like there are so many bands from the Twin Cities that I get emails about but have never heard of before. A Better Hand is one of those. They are based here in the cities and just released ‘Cheap Smokes and Champagne’ yet I have never heard of them. I used to pride myself on what’s going on in the scene here but clearly, as I said, I’m out of touch. Regardless, I’m stoked to check out this quick five-song EP from this hometown band!
“Silhouettes” get this release started off with a sense of power before perfect pop-punk vocals come in. Think State Champs and The Story So Far- Yeah, I was instantly in love. Although I’m constantly on the search for nostalgic pop-punk music, I’m starting to find more joy in finding bands like this where there is an undeniable sense of that nostalgia but also something modern and new feeling about it. This opening track set the bar extremely high for A Better Hand and I was anxious to get to the second track to see if they are able to meet all of the expectations I now have for them.
A Better Hand meet my expectations and then some with “Sleep With the Lights On”. This track starts off with an edged string of words before blasting into that familiar pop-punk sound that owns my heart. Although I could see how people would say that this just sounds like everything else out there in this scene right now, there’s something that sets this band apart. Unfortunately, I just can’t put my finger on it or put the words to it. Maybe it’s just because I feel so proud that they are from the Twin Cities but there’s just something so polished about A Better Hand’s sound. The vocals are clear and every drumbeat is hit with a sense of conviction and power. Maybe that’s what it is– there’s an undeniable sense of power behind this band but there’s not a sense of aggression that usually comes hand in hand with power.
“Wrong One” kicks off with a dazzling instrumental part before an infectious drum beat comes in and almost pop-style vocals take over. This was an instant favorite of mine (although I’m seriously deeply in love with every track so far on this EP). I love the chugging guitars behind the vocals. I feel like it just adds a little edge to this song which just solidifies A Better Hand’s place in the pop-punk world. Again, with the endless amount of power that comes through even on a recording, A Better Hand has a sound that I would kill to see live. I miss shows so much but hearing this track and knowing that this band lives somewhere near to me absolutely makes me miss live shows even more.
I feel like every pop-punk band has to have a song named after a girl that comes with a little more tenderness than their other songs. “Autumn Leigh” is that song for A Better Hand. This sensitive track is very cute and pretty. Unfortunately, my love song days. Thankfully, this love song feeling track has a little bit of a bitter edge with some of the words. The song builds and builds throughout so, although I thought I had this song pegged with just reading the track name, A Better Hand kept me on my toes and left me with a thoroughly enjoyable track.
“Get It Right” closes out this all-too-quick EP the same way it started. The track starts with a sense of power before falling back into a more classic modern-day pop-punk vibe. Again, even though that sound seems to be being done a lot these days, A Better Hand does it so perfectly that it never feels generic or forgettable. What a flawless ending for an EP that, overall, is perfect.
Nostalgia is fun. I will never get sick of listening to bands like Taking Back Sunday or Good Charlotte but it’s so nice to know that there are some youngsters that have latched onto that sound and are keeping it alive. Some are carbon copies but then there are bands like A Better Hand who bring the nostalgia with their own twist.
Favorite Track(s): “Wrong One”
For Fans Of: Nostalgic pop-punk; Perfection; Energy
Mosh-ability: 7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid right next to my desk like a loaf; Autumn slept on the back of the couch
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 10 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 9.8 out of 10
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