Baltimore's own Handguns have released their long awaited second effort titled Life Lessons. The much anticipated disc is a rolling, non-stop knock you on your ass affair with tightly wound pop-punk rhythms galore and paints a vivid portrait of a band that is as honest as they can be with their fans, and are one of the most raw and passionate bands in music today.
We kick things off with "Sleep Deprived" an intense, driven number featuring astounding guitar rhythms and the amazing vocals of Taylor Eby and the exquisite drumwork of drummer Ryan Pyle who adds a distinct element to each of the tracks, and it's just the tip of the iceberg related to this album. "Heart vs. Head" is a non-stop, rolling track featuring tightly wound vocal work courtesy from the one two punch of Kyle Vaught and Brandon Pagano, who do a exemplorary job of keeping the guitars in check each and every time, and communicating eloquently their feelings to a captive and thunderous listening audience. "The Loved Ones Who Hate Us" is a straight shooting, no frills track with perfectly balanced guitar riffs and a strong emphasis being put on melody that bodes well for the rest of the effort to follow.
The second half begins with "Queens", a terrifically produced track that really nails it and hits it home with amazing vocal work from Taylor and crew once again, and the instrumentation is truly remarkable on this tune and really showcases the band's resolve and work ethic that is always held in the highest of regard. But my favorite track off the effort is "Waiting For Your Ghost", an explosive, impeccably produced number that is a real throwback of sorts as it takes me back to the early 00's and right in the spirit of my youth where Drive Thru ruled the roost in terms of being the premiere label at the time and bands that were constantly being churning out at a furious pace, but this one has that raw and reveling NFG spirit that shines through brightly and is the benchmark of the whole disc. "New Years Resolution" closes it all out here with a fast and furious, no holds barred opus that ends the album in grand fashion, and takes musical elements we've heard previously and is spewn about over the course of the track to give fans a brief synopsis of the magic we've heard in such a short span of time. This album was like a visit from an old friend in high school with songs that took me back to my glory days where life was more carefree than it is today and life was as plain jane as possible. These guys have a tremendous future ahead of them, and they are nothing short of outstanding musicians and great people as well.
Overall, a tremendous effort heard here from Handguns, a band that has a strong knack for delivering the goods it promises to its listeners, and never wavers in its quest to make the audience part of the act and bring them in to their home as if they were close friends. Highly recommended!
Heart vs. Head
I Can't Relate
The Loved Ones Who Hate Us
Give and Take
Waiting For Your Ghost
New Years Resolution