‘Hands Like Glaciers’ album review
album: Hands Like Glaciers
artist: Old News
genre: rock & roll
release date: February 1, 2019
star rating: four out of five
review by Levi Yager
Wichita outfit Old News just released what’s very possibly their best collection of songs yet. Hands Like Glaciers is raw, fun and high on energy. The EP showcases seamless integration of technical rhythmic approaches, belt-it-out choruses, honest lyricism and the emotionally-charged defiance at the heart and soul of rock ‘n’ roll.
“Don’t Bum Me Out” is the first track, and it sets the scene with pulsing bass guitar that gets swept up with wandering lead guitar riffs and smooth vocals. Old News displays their excellent rhythmic techniques here, occasionally switching between a lazy sway and a steady run. This is complemented by engaging song structure. An easy highlight, “Don’t Bum Me Out” is a great song to kick off the EP with, and it closes out with whimsical electric guitar work.
“Floods Of Color” follows, and it keeps the momentum going. A cool, upbeat groove carries the track, and it has interesting lyrics that have a lot to do with the general idea of individual perception and the mind’s eye. “Floods Of Color” features a sweet guitar solo at the end as well.
The third song is “Tangled Up,” coming in at the exact middle of Hands Like Glaciers. Not necessarily one of the most notable songs as a whole, it does, however, include one of the strongest choruses on the EP that commands the listener’s full attention. “Tangled Up” also has some really dance-y qualities at different parts, which give the track a distinct feel and may make it a personal favorite for many. The lyrics on this song are about being “tangled up inside” due to different emotions and related experiences.
Track number four, “Quarter Life Crisis,” changes up the overall flow of the EP with a more toned-down style, which makes for an instantly memorable cut. It also has some of the best – and most relatable – writing on Hands Like Glaciers about being caught in transit as a young adult. Lead vocalist Beau Harris sings, “Watch my friends go get engaged. My parents ask, but I am too afraid. And I don’t know what to say.” This one’s chock-full of similar musings, statements and scenarios that many people can see themselves in. “Quarter Life Crisis” additionally includes a brief, little bridge with a tasteful horn section that accents the song perfectly.
Then, “Melatonin Gummy” brings back the brass full-force, with the lead guitar simultaneously floating through the track in sporadic movements. The song acts as a manifesto for tired lovers, and it finishes the album as an all-out rocker.
Whether you’re already an Old News fan or are new to the band, this EP is not one you’ll want to miss. With Hands Like Glaciers, Old News capitalizes on what they do best, bringing listeners catchy progressive rock songs heavily peppered with tasty guitar licks throughout. In addition, Harris explores a few different vocal patches – more-so than on previous releases – and he pulls off each texture he attempts. The harmonies work really well, too. Hands Like Glaciers is definitely a success; the musicianship’s on-point in all departments, the vision is clear and it’s expertly executed. I recommend checking it out.