Handsome - Handsome ©1997 Sony
1. Needles
2. Ride Down
3. Going To Panic
4. Left Of Heaven
5. Thrown Away
6. Dim The Lights
7. Lead Bellied
8. My Mind’s Eye
9. Waiting
10. Quiet Liar
11. Eden Complex
12. Swimming

The pangs of being on the very fringes of mainstream success have ruined many a great band. Case in point is rock “supergroup” Handsome, who would go on to release this, their debut, only to combust a short time after. Consisting of ex-Helmet guitarist Peter Mengede, ex-Quicksand guitarist Tom Capone, Cro Mags/Murphy’s Law drummer Pete Hines, bassist Eddie Nappi, and ex-Iceburn/current Jets to Brazil bassist and Cub Country frontman Jeremy Chatelain on vocals, Handsome played a textured, snappy, melodic, and surprisingly nuanced brand of riff-based post-hardcore that was not indicative in any way of a band that was wont to rest on the laurels of its members’ prior accomplisments. With Tom Capone and Peter Mengede providing monstrous, wall-of-sound aggro riffs, and Pete Hines and Eddie Nappi laying down some awesome grooves, the stage was set for the band’s star, Jeremy Chatelain, to work his vocal magic. Quite frankly, his performance on this album is one of the more under-appreciated in 90s rock history, and while he obviously isn’t the greatest vocalist to take up the mic, his voice is powerful, melodic, and distinctive, and his ability to convey catchy, strong melodies is admirable. It also helps to have a backing band that is able to write sophisticated and catchy music.

Handsome is but another fine example of a band who, by virtue of the fickle nature of the mainstream-buying public and a bureaucratic music industry, would be ruined. Well, at least we have this, their one and only album, to chew on. A handsome, fine album indeed!

Review by Alec A. Head

Review date: 12/2003

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