The term “catchy”, when referring to a tune or phrase, can be defined as instantly appealing and memorable. Think of some of your favorite songs; I can almost guarantee that most, if not all of them, are songs that possess the infectiously catchy qualities capable of lodging themselves deep within your head for lengthy periods of time. The ability to write music that can be categorized as such is a quality that every songwriter in the world prays for. A group of young men from Irvine, California have mastered this art, and in doing so have once again found themselves thrust into the indie music spotlight. I am talking, of course, about Young the Giant.
California Indie-rockers Avoid Sophomore Slump with New LP
The band returns after a three-year hiatus with their sophomore effort Mind Over Matter (January 21st). The long awaited album comes with large expectations, and how could it not? Their self-titled debut album was a mass success, with such songs as “Cough Syrup” and “My Body” being featured on various television advertisements and soundtracks, and through their various performances at such notorious festivals as SXSW and Lollapalooza, the band has quickly become a household name throughout North America. Despite the pressures of such expectations, however, Young the Giant return with a much richer sound on the new album. Providing a much fuller experience, Mind Over Matter is bound to quench the thirst of its listeners, and then some.
Songs like “It’s About Time” see the band fusing a heavier rock sound with softer pop-rock melodies. The pre-chorus sees lead guitarist Jacob Tilly mustering up one of the coolest licks on the entire album, while Sameer Gadhia’s vocals explode in a powerful nature that will blow listeners away. Based on their performance of the track earlier this week on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” it will undoubtedly grow into a crowd favorite on their upcoming North American tour.
“Camera” experiments with the classic concept of a man in search for more, much like that of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” or Damien Jurado’s Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Taking on an extremely 80’s sound, the song is defined by the various effects of the keyboard. As Gadhia cries “Do the things I wanna’ do / not the ones I’m supposed to” the concealed beauty of the song rises to prominence. The eclectic instrumentation creates an atmospheric confusion, reflective of the emotional incertitude of the songs protagonist. The beauty and uplifting vibe of the chorus has ultimately turned it into one of my favorite songs on the album, despite my initial disregard for it.
The album closes with “Paralysis,” a song whose preliminary woo’s fail to prepare you for the explosion of synth-rock power that follows. Gadhia recites “I only thought you were crying from laughter, saving myself from the mouth of the monster” while the rest of the band perform the increasingly catchy hooks that make up the entire song. Wickedly cool harmonies, new wave guitar licks, and an overly danceable drum track give the song a heavy 80’s feel, and conclude the album on an impressive note.
It’s never easy to repeat success; often in an attempt to recreate a triumphant result, musicians fall into a pattern of monotonous repetition for which they are criticized. Young the Giant has overcome this by building on their past successes, not repeating them, and in doing so have created an album that solidifies their presence in the modern music scene.
Notable Upcoming Shows:
Fri FEB 7 – 8PM
Young The Giant at Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles,CA
Sat FEB 15 – 8PM
Young The Giant at Austin Music Hall – Austin, TX