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Posted on February 12, 2008

Check out this Open Hand review from this months KERRANG! SCORCHED EARTH SAND-BLASTED DESERT-ROCK MAJESTY FROM HOLLYWOOD THIS TIME last year, it was all over for Open Hand. 2003’s tour with Poison The Well was supposed to break them, but instead left the post-hardcore hopefuls penniless and brought down. One by one, members deserted until only guitarist/vocalist Justin Isham was left. No band, no material, no chance. Not entirely. Isham set about rebuilding from the ground up, and happily, Version 2.0 features more than just an entirely new line-up around Isham it also features a completely new direction. And here í¢ä‰åäóì the title is a grim nod to Isham and singer/drummer Paxton Pryor’s last-ditch attempt to record the album alone í¢ä‰åäóì is ‘You And Me’. And that’s where you drop your bacon sarnie and listen. Because if few people thought this album would ever happen, nobody at all predicted it would sound like this. The stressed emoisms are out. The dominant theme here is open space: this is big sky music. This time round, the songs don’t race to get home, instead slowing down into great, moonstruck stoner rock that floats malevolently between QOTSA’s satanic boogie and the Black Crowes’ slow-burning harmonics. And as with those bands, the key is the musicianship. Just listen to ‘Her Song’, whose seductive, hypnotic guitars waft skywards like incense smoke, or opener ‘Pure Concentrated Evil’, blowing like a distant sandstorm across its ominous basslineí¢ä‰åŒ_ and where the old Open Hand would have hit the uptight punk accelerator for the first single ‘Tough Girl’ and companion piece ‘Tough Guy’, this reincarnation weave their way through the songs, oozing lysergic telepathy, parched harmonies and snake-eyed cool. It’s perfect for summer. You And Me’ may or may not set charts on fire. But it should aid the incineration of at least a few ounces of fine Mexican import. Listen. You’ll know what we mean. KKKK


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