The Handshakes is based out of St. Louis, Missouri, made up of the father/daughter duo of Adam and Grace, with additional instrumentation by Patrick Savage (who also mixed and produced the EP). Adam is the principal songwriter in another band, Tone Rodent, whose style is shoegaze/post-punk songs. His other band, which Patrick is also a member, Reunionunion, performs songs in the psych/dream-pop style. Grace and Adam’s debut Freesia explores the connection between father and daughter during strange and difficult times. Grace was diagnosed with Polyrhythmic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and anxiety at the tender age of nine. Songs on the EP are written from the father’s point of view watching and helping his daughter, while she sings his words and thoughts of her in this situation that is magnified by the overall disrepair of today’s current world. Their music is in the style of bands such as Lush, Ride and Slowdive.
“Dissonant” begins the EP with a slow, drudging rhythm and layers and layers of lush sounds. A heavy wall of sound by every definition. Some of the older bands that come to mind with this first song in, are the Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and Banshees and Mazzy Star. “Star” has more of an upbeat edge with great sounding pop guitar riffs and drumbeats, a la The Cure or Pixies. “Cut” offers a bit of the techno pop sound with different synth effects, and electronic drums, and man, the guitar riffs were fantastic! Going to have to listen to this one again.
Lastly, there is “Flowers” – yep, a short EP. This one dives into more sonic layering, fuzzy guitar and thick, syrupy bass lines. This one definitely has a haunting, goth feel to it, reminding me one-part Joy Division and one part “name another new wave goth band here.” I couldn’t get enough of this one – in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this EP. My only wish was that the lyrics would have been included on the band’s Bandcamp site, as the echoing effects of the instruments outweighed hearing what was being sung.
The “sound of loss and hope and beauty” – “dreamy reverberations of fragile beauty” are some of the words that The Handshakes use to describe their music on Freesia. Beauty no doubt – magnificent, gorgeous beauty! Sometimes tragic circumstances bring out the best in the artist – whether it be through performing, writing or visual arts – this was clearly the case with The Handshakes debut. Looking forward to hearing more!
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