The Ongoing Concept’s debut record, Saloon, was the most interesting hardcore record I’d heard in years. From that perspective, you’d say that Handmade is tame. That’s not to say it isn’t interesting. But the musicality of Handmade has been reigned in a little.
The biggest feat with Handmade is the fact that The Ongoing Concept actually made their instruments from scratch.They took the Handmade concept literally! That fact alone makes Handmade one of the most impressive record you’ll ever listen to.
As creative and interesting as Saloon was, Handmade is a better record. It’s more cohesive and put together. The band has found a nice balance between being heavy and being a rock band. The blend works in their favor. Because they can deploy either at a moments notice without the listener thinking twice. Amends is the album opener and it’s heavy and blistering, but the hook is catchy and singable, without sounding like any sort of metalcore rip-off. Feel is like the hardcore version of a Huey Lewis and News song. Danceable and fun, without losing intensity and aggression. It might sound goofy, but it’s flawlessly executed. Trophy is just a great heavy, get in the pit song! Follow that up with Prisoner, which is a good old rock and roll jam.
Melody is the oddest song on the record. An upbeat, pop love song. It’s odd and it kind of feels out of place, but it’s such a great song that it doesn’t matter. For all their quirks, The Ongoing Concept knows how to right a killer hook. Unwanted brings the intensity right back up to 100.
After a couple more heavy song, the band ends the record with Falling. It’s the band’s special blend of hardcore interpreting an old school soul song. The band has a flare for dramatics and this song is that flare turned all the way up.
Handmade is an interesting album. It’s uniqueness, plus the fact that the band made every instrument used in the record makes Handmade a compelling listen. It might not be a record I find myself gravitating toward to listen to all the time, but every time I hit play, I absolutely love it! 5 out of 5 Stars.