Young The Giant

Mind Over Matter

Written by: TL on 29/01/2014 18:58:54

Considering the obvious quality of the highlights on the self-titled debut album from California quintet Young The Giant, it could seem odd that the band - then newly renamed from the previous moniker The Jakes - apparently needed to win a contest for a support spot for Kings Of Leon to set a spark to their breakthrough. "Cough Syrup" in particular is such a good song that it still re-sticks to the mind three years after its release, and unless the band stumbled upon it on accident, why one wonders, were they not on their way towards greatness already?

Searching for the answer to such a query, we arrive now at the band's recently released second album "Mind Over Matter", which revs up nicely with the chiming intro "Slow Dive" setting up opening number "Anagram", which gets things going with an elegantly picked guitar signature in the verse, a speedy beat and a decent chorus melody. Over the next couple of songs the band quickly reintroduces the listener to their soundscape: An indie rock which on one hand has a more easy going swagger to it than the most dramatic bands in the genre, but which is also clearly unwilling to sacrifice energy and playful experimentation in pursuit of overly tightly written hits.

There's something retro and stylish about the harder rocking "It's About Time" and the lead single "Crystallized" which is trippy and poppy at the same time, yet the band continues to go its own way on each new song. The red thread is the immaculate vocals of Sameer Gadhia, about who you can hardly say enough good things. The singer has the sort of full, toasty tone and the seamless control of both lows, whispers, croons and falsetto that prompts you to believe that he's the kind of guy who could "sing the phonebook" and still sound delightful.

Considering just how well Gadhia sings, it's actually something of a puzzle then, that "Mind Over Matter" manages as few truly striking choruses as it does. "Crystallized" gains in presence after a few listens, but especially the faster songs fail to really utilize the extra energy, and while the generously layered arrangements have plenty to offer a curious ear, the hooks are actually weaker here than they were on the already hit and miss self-titled album. There are hints of some Foals-ish tendencies in the transforming track "Camera" and the later "Eros" which draw some interest, but with many of the thirteen songs clocking in between four and six minutes, the fruitless search for hook melodies to compare with "Cough Syrup" or "I Got" can get to feeling a little disappointing moving past the middle of the album.

Concluding on the entire release then, Young The Giant remain good, rewarding company in your ears, with plenty of curious details to listen for spread across "Mind Over Matter"'s many songs, yet while the band's expansive approach is commendable, it inevitably feels like they've gotten away from the core strength they flex when Gadhia sings irresistible chorus melodies. I think that so long as those are on board, they can pull of almost anything they set their mind to, but from what I hear on "Mind Over Matter", this is the one area that hasn't had enough work put into it. Considering this perceived lack of focus, "Mind Over Matter" eventually ranks slightly below "Young The Giant" for me, though admittedly not by the widest of margins.


Download: Anagram, Crystallized, Camera,
For The Fans Of: Walk The Moon, Vampire Weekend, Bombay Bicycle Club

Release Date 21.01.2014
Fueled By Ramen

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI