Album Review: Hands Off Gretel – “I Want The World”
Sheffield’s Hands Off Gretel are a band who I’ve heard mentioned in good terms on a few occasions in the past by various acquaintances, but I have to be honest and say that this, their second album, is the first time I’ve actually heard their music.
The obvious touchstone here would be the Distillers, probably some time around Coral Fang where they started to add a bit of melodic nous to the feral thrash they made their name with. It’s not a bad sound to go with either and the group sound tight and focused throughout. Their ace in the hole though is singer Lauren Tate who has the sheer force of personality to well and truly stamp her mark on these songs and drag HOG up from you thinking “yeah, these guys are alright” to “y’know what, this lot could just be contenders here”. Just take a listen to the lean, mean and angry rock of the storming title track (the album’s highlight), Blame Myself and Alien to see what they’re capable of – it’s good stuff.
I Want The World varies its pace up nicely as well from the Doll Parts style lurching laments of It’s My Fault and Freaks Like Us to the Marilyn Mansonesque electronica of Milk. Yeah, there’s the odd miss – SASS reeks a bit of a band trying to trend-chase when they shouldn’t, and My Friend Said is a bit teen-angst-by-numbers, but overall this is a strong effort and well worth a listen for the curious.
With enough teenage angst to appeal to the mallrat metal Kerrang! crowd, but enough angst and venom behind their work to leave you in no doubt that they mean it, Hands Off Gretel have delivered a good effort here. An album with something for everyone, this lot genuinely could be on the way to being very big if they let themselves. It'll be interesting to follow their progress and see where they go from here.