WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2014|
Posted by: Jake Saunders
Ah, the dreaded sophomore album—thecombination of familiarity and evolution that is necessary for a band's development has and always will be an extreme challenge; and it is something we definitely witness in Young The Giant's Mind Over Matter. The easy-going, California-born quintet's first full length from 2010 was a hook-heavy pop record; friendly to the radio and easy on the ears. The band sports an uplifting sound, peppered with sparkly guitar riffs and lead singer Sameer Gadhia's vocals bring a warm atmosphere that lovers of 2000-era indie bands are sure to catch on to. They were introduced as a band who saw themselves playing more than just sweaty basements and underground clubs, however, these grand aspirations seem to have curbed their creativity.
Young The Giant's sophomore attempt covers typical pop issues of love and dreaming of something better; and the theme of paralysis and numbness is weaved throughout. "You're a Daydreamer / And it's the same thing over and over / We're running for our lives /In a slip dream," belts Gadhia in the feel-good song "Daydreamer". The band has moved forward with the common synth-driven direction so many of their peers have taken—see Mogwai or Radiohead, who the band declares as major influences—with lyrics and melodies that seem more like placeholders than signs of genuine experimentation or growth. This is a band who decided they were going to take their sound to the next level, and for Young The Giant that meant a much broader sound accessible to the mass audience, and a fast track path to arena stages. I dare not call this band indie for that era has come and gone, but I will say this: Young The Giant is a group that is concerned about their development, and whether they succeed at finding a sound that works for them is still something yet to be seen. Perhaps Mind Over Matter was just too over-thought as interviews reveal they experienced bouts of writer's block, but hopefully it's only a matter of time until they find a sound that's truly their own.