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The Neon Handshake

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The Neon Handshake + Ideas Above Our Station
Price For Both: £8.67

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Feb. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00006J3L1
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,031 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Five Kids Go 3:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Out Of Sight 2:33£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Night Vision 3:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Cut Down 3:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Few Against Many 4:02£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Three Of Clubs 3:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. I Can Climb Mountains 3:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Disconnector 3:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. You Drove Me To It 3:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Slow Song 5:31£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Sick/Happy 3:08£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Retreat 3:44£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Prior to the release of their own debut, The Neon Handshake, it must have been a bittersweet experience for Hell Is for Heroes to watch kindred spirits Hundred Reasons crack the UK Top 40, securing their critical position with a superb debut album. On one hand, it no doubt gave them hope that their own brand of intelligent, impassioned, post-emo breast beating could enjoy a similar fate. But on the other, they probably worried they were a crucial twelve months behind the zeitgeist. With two of Symposium in their ranks, they surely know how important timing can be in rock. Inevitably, The Neon Handshake is an extremely accomplished album that lurks a little too self-consciously in the shadow of Ideas Above Our Station. Songs such as "Out of Sight" and "Cut Down" follow the British post-hardcore model to the letter, lurching and screaming in all the familiar places. Far more affecting are the songs that strive to reach some kind of maturity. "Disconnected" is slight and subtle, while the singles "I Can Climb Mountains" and the particularly excellent "Night Vision" show an encouraging ability to layer musical and emotional tension. It's not quite the startling album that was hoped for then, but far worse debuts have led on to earth-shattering careers. --Ian Watson

BBC Review

Fact: Hell is For Heroes are a great British hope for 2003 and it isn't an exaggeration to state that The Neon Handshake is one of the most eagerly awaited debuts from a British band. Recorded over a year ago, the decision was made to hold off its release until the band felt ready. But as anyone who has heard the singles "Night Vision", "I Can Climb Mountains" and "You Drove Me To It", will vouch, it is well worth the wait.

To understand the significance of The Neon Handshake it's necessary to go back to the beginning of the Hell Is For Heroes history. It starts with the sad denouement of their precursor, exuberant pop-punkers Symposium, whose promising future was cut short thanks to record label hassles. As the band members went their separate ways, it seemed as if UK homegrown talent had taken another kick in the teeth.

Guitarist Will McGonagle and drummer Joe Birch then went on to form Hell is For Heroes. Shouldering expectations heavier than that faced by a 'new' band, the London quintet concentrated on honing their sound and blowing crowds away with stunning live sets rather than rush a release. As it happens, it turned out to be the right decision.

Listening to the climactic, empowering riffs that run amok through its pulsating forty-two minutes, The Neon Handshake is a rush of blood to the head. It's the feeling of a band that has seen the shit come down and survived, kicking and screaming, to tell the tale. From the breathless chuggery of "You Drove Me To It" to the driving riffage of "Out Of Sight", Hell is For Heroes have a seemingly endless stockpile of slamming riffs that are intense without suffocating. HIFH's statement is simple enough: you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. Look no further than the spirited optimism of "I Can Climb Mountains", a chest-beating anthem of Herculean proportions.

Brimming with confidence, The Neon Handshake isn't just the most inspired, upbeat record you'll hear this year, it's one of the best British rock albums to ever hit the shelves. --Catherine Chambers

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. H. Watkinson on 12 Nov. 2004
Format: Audio CD
There are few words that can do justice to an album of such magnitude. Without a doubt the two stand-out tracks are 'I can climb mountains' and 'You drove me to it.' Each of these is a near perfect three-or-so minutes of British post-hardcore. If you thought Hundred Reasons were good then you are missing out on this far superior band. I challenge you to walk down any street listening to this album without walking tall with the kind of militant positivity that this band generate. There is no filler on 'The neon handshake'. Although the lyrics are intelligent the combination of this with the musical simplicity makes for one of the most inspirational and simultaneously ignored albums of our time. Much of the beauty lies in the simplicity of the musical structure of the album - littered with dropped-d tunings and tight drumming. The epiphany of this album is located from 2.12 to the end of 'You drove me to it' - 'they won't break me' is all the prospective listener needs to know about the evolution of the two former Symposium members and the attitude that they engender in their listeners.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "stevendixon" on 27 Feb. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Having heard their name fluttered about the music scene I awaited this debut with baited breath. Hailed as this year's Hundred Reasons, Hell is for Heroes are a no-nonsense rock outfit. The comparisons with Hundred Reasons are obvious, their breed of rock being fairly hard but with a refreshing British, almost indie-like edge.
The Neon Handshake is a step on from the HR album Ideas Above Our Station, the riffs are more intelligent, the chaos more subtle and the melodies are, well, more delicate and run deeper than simple riffing. HIFH's frontman has the same tendancy to scream as much as he sings, a la Colin Doran but his voice is stronger than the Hundred Reasons vocalist, rarely (if ever) faltering. The biggest difference to me is that HIFH are a much tighter band rhythmically. It seems their drummer is of a different class, and although the style of rock is different, it is worth comparing HIFH's rhythm section with that of the Deftones and A Perfect Circle. Even the production seems more suiting to the style, the Neon Handshake maintaining beautiful sonic balance whilst retaining the rawness of heavy rock, for example the ring on the snare drum really adds to the whole mood a dynamic of the song. This is all epitomised by the excellent single 'You Drove Me to It'.
There are some standout tracks here. 'Night Vision' borrows Placebo-esque drive and soaring melody, combining it with Deftones-like heaviness. 'I Can Climb Mountains' is arguably the album's best, fusing delicate chiming melody with all the angst and pure adrenaline of a Hundred Reasons track. 'Cut Down' and 'Few Against Many' are reasonable tracks, but amongst songs of such quality they seem a little lacklustre. This album exudes class, passion and ability from every pore.
The Neon Handshake is a thoroughly satisfying album to listen to. Although the lack of true originality means that this debut wont change the face of music, the material is brilliantly fresh. This is one to turn up loud...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "scarfo__" on 11 Feb. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Oh no. Not another this-years-biggest-thing.
Lots and lots were promised by this band. Symposium briefly rocked the western world, and when Hell is for Heroes began to tour, memories of that band came back.
So what to expect? More middle of the road guitar chunter with maybe one or two good songs (See also Hundred Reasons) or maybe some hardcore off the rails expressway-2-yr-skull rage (See also The Icarus Line). The reality, however, is so much more...
The stunningly names quintet bring much more to the table than their predecessors. With a couple of members in common with the 'Posium, the powerful crunching riffage is, of course, abundant, but it's the other ingredients which make this album so indispensable. The stunningly simple live opener Slow Song exemplifies the Hell is for Heroes sound, drifting from mellow, floating melody to crunching, violent peaks and back again.
The same can be said of stand out track Sick/Happy. This song shows other bands how to do the soft-hard-soft thing with stlye, originalty and, take note InMe, power and feeling. The hardest thing to believe about this song is that it was the first ever written by the band.
A special mention must go to Out Of Sight, for being one of the most powerful songs put on record since The Icarus Line told us to 'Feed A Cat to your Cobra'.
The singles are, in the most part, stunning. You Drove Me To It and I Can Climb Mountains are two of the most addictive and driving peieces of pure RoCk you are likely to hear this year, but the song Night Vision is relatively weak. That said, its still a stunning tune, just lacks the flair of the rest of the album.
Before we talk too much about the vitriol and power of this album, we have to rember the melodic side.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A J Bromley on 19 July 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Neon Handshake, the debut album by the british fivesome, is arguably one of the greatest albums around.
Any band with 2/5ths of Symposium is always going to give you pounding dropped-D riffs and some of the best drumming that you can imagine, but when Joe Birch and William McGonagle formed HIFH with old school-mates Tom O'Donoghue and James Findlay, there are always going to be some huge songs around.
Fronted by Justin Schlosberg, with one of the greatest voices in rock (2nd only to Chris Cornell in my opinion) the band set about becoming one of the best bands about, and to those who follow them, there is seldom anyone better.
Five Kids Go, has a quiet beginning, but then just gets straight to the point.. and is followed by the thumping Out Of Sight.
'Cut Down', 'Few Against Many', 'Three Of Clubs', 'Disconector' and 'Slow Song' are all up there with the best, but when inter-twined with the singles 'Night Vision', the awesome 'I Can Climb Mountains', 'Sick Happy' and the unbelievable 'You Drove Me To It', with one of the simplest but all-time greatest riffs ever, The Neon Handshake brings your senses to distraction.
The album closes with the Monumental single 'Retreat', one of my 5 favourite songs of all time.
In essence, the album is a must for fans of brilliant guitar work, rough and throaty vocals, sensible drumming, and a bass guitar than cuts through everything.
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