Following their 2012 debut Ground Dweller, Australian post-hardcore band Hands Like Houses returned a year later with Unimagine. The band stay true to the sound that made up their debut, mixing subtle electronic textures with chuggy metalcore riffing, precision drumming, and almost pop-leaning moments of melodic clarity. Unlike Ground Dweller, however, the production on Unimagine is clean and spacious, leaving lots of room for nuanced playing to shine through where the sound was once more murky and cluttered. Vocalist Trenton Woodley's voice sits on top of most tracks, guiding standout songs like "Shapeshifters" and "Introduced Species" to their bounding, anthemnic choruses and adding an almost romantic tint to "The House You Built," an unexpected hybrid of subdued Beatlesque pop harmonies and acrobatic metal guitar leads. The heightened production values make all of the songs pop and highlights Hands Like Houses' talent for both dynamic songwriting and Woodley's intricate, multi-tracked vocal arrangements. Varied stylistic approaches, like the ornamental pop touches of "No Parallels" or the shadowy piano loops meeting cinematic metal guitar on "A Fire on a Hill," help make Unimagine a large step forward as well as a more comprehensible artistic statement.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas