DATE BREAKDOWN: Sadistic Hands – “Sadistic Hands”

File under: #Grunge? 

While waiting outside of my local record store during the craziness of Record Store Day, the Sadistic Hands singer walked the line handing out free copies of her band’s CD. The question was, “Do you like rock music?” to which I responded, “Yes.” She moved onto the next person with the same exchange, so on and so forth. So when I got home and popped the compact disc into my stereo, I kind of expected things to get rockin’.

While what entered my ears would easily fall into the vast, unorganized expanse of Pop/Rock on the shelves of a big box entertainment store like Best Buy, it really lacked the urgency of rock-n-roll. The band’s SoundCloud page classifies them as #grunge, and while not exact, I find the term to be much more fitting than rock. Personally, I’d call Sadistic Hands bubblegum grunge, and yes, I realize that’s a weird ass classification. But, bear with me, it’s not bad.

The ‘Hands clearly want to be viewed as dark, mysterious, sadistic musicians. It’s all over the forcibly sallow tone in Sara’s voice, the desperately emo lyrics, and the cinematography of the music videos. They want so badly to be seen as gothic (but not goth), that the aesthetic becomes a distraction. They’re not sinister, they’re happy.  Listen to “Bruiser” and tell me you don’t hear the misplaced joy, the bubblegum pop that juxtaposes the emo lyrics and the #grunge. It’s weird, but I can’t say I hate it by any means.

I honestly can’t say there’s a bad song on the entirety of Sadistic Hands, but the disconnect from their aesthetic, to their [newly deleted] self-review marketing, to their confusing sound, still leaves a bit of a rough impression. The whole thing just feels tame and a bit unsure. It’s a cross between wanting radio acceptance and trying to be underground goth grunge. If they would just choose one I think they’d be a lot better off.

Highlights include “So Low,” Hard Candy,” and “Bruiser.”

Going on a blind date with Sadistic Hands:

3/5 stars








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