The next steps following a debut album can be tricky to figure out, after tour ends and the crew return home, what’s left at the end of it all? Scattered, half-processed memories of dingy backrooms from dive bars the world over, images of riotous nights rendered forever in casts of amber, cities of enthusiastic faces now imprinted in your mind and the spaces of time simply lost in transit, all this attached to the burning hope that a million more wild and wonderful things are still yet to happen. For Canterbury five-piece Broken Hands the journey to album number two has been both life-changing and challenging.
Signing a record deal with Atlantic Records, marked the band’s first outing with a major label, officially announced last October as a double espresso shot of new music (‘Split in Two’ / ‘Friends House’). In between contracts being signed and studio sessions for their follow up release, reports of health issues came rushing in when Flood Magazine published that vocalist Dale Norton “underwent intensive ear surgery that left him unable to sing for about two months,” just as a new era was starting to frame, turbulence broke and shuddered the foundations. Ultimately this was just a mere setback, thankfully not a stopping block for subsequent events.
Returning to the stage in winter of 2018, Broken Hands joined forces with Band of Skulls to form a double crested dream team of rock (the tour was only two dates long but for those in attendance, it offered a taste of the unknown). Further shows resumed over the course of the coming months and into the new year, before a summer 2019 invitation to hit the road with US heavyweights Shinedown saw the band hopping across the pond and travelling state to state on a daily basis, alongside fellow noise brethren Dinosaur Pile-Up and Badflower (the latter, of which, they will rejoin this autumn for a jaunt of dates around Europe and the UK).
Revealing the title of their sophomore album, to be, Split in Two, the band cements a record of contrast, psychological investigation and intrigue. The three tracks that we’ve heard so far vary in mood, tone and style; from the half-time gutter grooves of the title track, to the unnerved, deconstructed edges of ‘Friends House,’ and ‘Wrong Track”s racing virility – a riffs-to-the-front approach that heads imminently towards a loud, unrelenting climax. Each requires accepting the world from a different angle.
Singer Dale Norton explains: “Both [‘Split in Two’ and ‘Friends House’] come from a similar place—one minute you want to write a screaming, heavy record and in the next you want to write something tranquil. It’s a push-and-pull. ‘Friends House’ has that element of two-sides as well. It’s quite a dark song; the moment that you think you’re happy and safe, you actually couldn’t be any further from safety.
“‘Wrong Track’ is about realising you have no choice of your destination in life but, we all have the choice to enjoy the ride. Fate is inevitable but how you get there’s on you.”
The new material settles on a sound somewhere between hard rock and indie, fading out the band’s past deviations into psychedelic realms and space rock, to configure a refinement of vision gravitating more centrally around garage and heavy riffery. The core of the band still remains the same, just now with added oomph. As with any new project the energies surrounding it intensify the closer we get to impact date, what we do know is, the clearer the picture becomes, the more fascinating and vital the music seems. For now it’s a waiting game, but come October we’ll be in the know.
Broken Hands continue to stimulate folklore of their live stamina with a show that exudes character and coursing musicianship, the sets now consist mainly of new material with the additional forray of first album throwback appearing every so often. With a host of gripping new tunes under their belts which act a vortex into the band’s world, the upcoming tour dates scheduled between September and November incite the future of Broken Hands’ year to be furthermore action-packed and attention stirring. Not forgetting the album’s due date, the final calendar notification is set for 11th of October. Until then, let the anticipation commence.
Broken Hands’ new album, Split in Two will be released on 11th October 2019 via Atlantic Records. Pre-Orders can be made here.
Broken Hands’ upcoming tour dates are, as follows:
07 – Riverside, Newcastle Upon Tyne [supporting FEVA]