Handsome "s/t" CDPosted on Thursday, August 4th, 2005 @ 5:34am » permalink
The lineup damn near says it all with this one: Tom Capone (formerly of Beyond, Bold, Quicksand, currently in Instruction) – guitar; Jeremy Chatelain (formerly of Insight and Iceburn, later in Jets to Brazil, currently in Cub Country) – vocals; Pete Hines (formerly of Murphy's Law, the Cro-Mags, and Alloy) – drums; Peter Mengede (formerly of Helmet) – guitar; Eddie Nappi (later in Enemy) – bass. Could you possibly lose? Hell no!
Handsome formed in the early-90's sans Tom Capone, and solidified as a four-piece lineup in early-1995. Capone joined up between late-'95 and early-'96, after the band had already released two 7"s: "Waiting" on Full City Blend, and a self-titled affair that contained "Swimming" backed with "Can't Connect" on Sub Pop (the latter track was never re-recorded). After that it was their sole self-titled full-length on Epic Records in 1997, which is where it really gets good.
When the disc originally hit the streets I bought it immediately due to the presence of Capone and Mengede alone, having been an enormous Quicksand and Helmet fan, but I wasn't feeling the vocals at all, so I never really listened to it. For whatever reason, a few months later it finally clicked, and I still spin this album on a very regular basis to this day. In fact, were I to review this disc right now, I'd probably give it a 10/10, as this is one of the single most listened to CD's in my entire collection of 3,000+.
The band basically delivers a surprisingly heavy brand of moody, melodic post-hardcore chock full of spectacular songwriting, which is quite diverse and unique as well. Oddly enough, despite the vocals being the initial hitch for me, I now realize that the singing is one of the most significant factors in making this record so fucking amazing, as Chatelain possesses one of the more moving and distinctive singing styles I've ever heard, so… while perhaps an acquired taste, his presence is absolutely essential. And the songs are just ridiculous (in a good way). I've seriously probably listened to this CD over 1,000 times in eight years. "Quiet Liar" makes me want to shoot myself, "Dim the Lights" is succinct and catchy as hell (a rare twist for the album as a whole), "Ride Down" is a little more midpaced and driving… and there are plenty of other surefire keepers as well – notably "Swimming" and "Needles", among others.
I don't know what the deal is, but apparently there was some sort of "bonus disc" with an edition of this CD too, probably an import or whatever. I don't know how many songs were on it, but I've got two of 'em, and they're fuckin' great. "Closer" was supposed to be on the CD-Rom content for the standard edition, but I've never been able to get it to play via those means. Regardless, these guys are absolutely insane for not including "Spill" on the record itself, as it's hands down one of their five best songs. I could probably even argue that it's their finest track, period. It's actually pretty frustrating that such an amazing track was relegated to some unbelievably obscure "bonus disc", but at least I got the chance to hear it.
I don't see the Handsome disc available new all that often these days, but it's certainly one of those hidden treasures that's relatively easy to score used for less than $5:
If anyone knows any concrete details about the above mentioned "bonus disc", or the rumored unreleased second full-length that Handsome may or may not have recorded, for that matter, please let me know. I totally love this band and still can't make sense of the fact that they never really got their due.