Tuesday, November 29, 2016
HAND OF DIMES - "RAISE"
LABEL: Self Release
REVIEW BY: Alan Holloway
Well I must say this has been along time coming, as it seems Hand Of Dimes have been around for ages with just an EP to their name. the brainchild of Ex Kooga bandmates Nev MacDonald (also of Skin fame) and Neil Garland, Hand Of Dimes look to be the band to give Wales a fresh new pin in the hard rock World map.
Fans of Skin will certainly hold vocalist Nev in high regard, as the man has the proverbial set of golden tonsils that make any song he sings that much better. Before Skin, however, was Kooga, and those in the know remember them with fondness. Keyboard player Neil Garland was (and is) always a strong onstage presence, and it’s great to see the two of them back together. Hand of Dimes head down a bluesier route then the other two bands mentioned, and in doing so manage to make Nev work his socks off, his throaty power literally mesmerising on some songs.
By ‘Blues’ I mean powerful blues, so we’re talking big riffs and in your face vocals, more Thunder than Jeff Healey but with nods to both. The big riffs come courtesy of Colin Edwards, who also provides some sweet solo work throughout. So this isn’t a full on heavy rock album, as it’s balanced with slower, more thoughtful tracks, from the laid back duo of ‘Angels & Demons’ and ‘Sail On’ to the ever catchy but sweetly soulful ‘Stranger In My Hometown’. Every song here benefits hugely from Nev’s vocals, as good now as he ever was, standing eye to eye with the likes of Paul Rodgers and not backing down.
All in all, this is a first class album, and my only criticism is that it could have been pared down from thirteen tracks to maybe eleven, tightening the running order a little. Fans of Skin will certainly enjoy it, and anyone who likes good old British hard blues rock will be delighted to discover a new voice in the genre. This maybe only a handful of dimes, but it’s a whole lot of fun.