• WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2011

    • Posted by: Gabby Green

    In Light has arrived just in time for summer. GIVERS hail from Lafayette, Louisiana and is lead by vocalists Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco, who are backed up by a range of instrumentals from synths to Afro-beat percussion perfect for the season. While the instrumentals are reminiscent of other balmy-weather bands like Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot and the vocal duo are analogous to the sounds of Mates of State, there is something entirely new and refreshing about the style. The songs of this album could be most accurately described as bubbly, but there is definitely a divide between the more giddy tracks of the first half to the more melancholic second half of In Light. Although there is a split, the raw power of Tiffany Lamson's voice maintains continuity throughout the album. In Light strings together the scope of surf-rock, funk, soul, ska, and Afropop, but underneath all of these eclectic layers lies an organic and exhilarating sound.

    Songs like, "Up Up Up," "Meantime," and "Noche Nada" are certain to get stuck in your head in the best way. The opening song, "Up Up Up" introduces a rainstick, then simultaneously brings in sharp vocals and a soft percussion, followed by a range of electric instruments and a xylophone, and then it's hard not to get lost in this tangled wave of their energy. The constant strum of the electric guitar ensures that listeners will not be too thrown off by GIVERS' unlimited energy, but instead choose to follow them "up up up," "down down down" and wherever else they take you for the rest of their album. In "Meantime" the instruments have become slightly pared down and the bubbly vocals float above the percussions. The chorus of "Meantime," "Don't get stuck in the meantime/There's no such thing as the meantime," shows the simplicity of a summer day, as Guarisco and Lamson ask us to not take these days seriously because like waves, a summer day "comes, it goes/it washes away."

    The opening of "Ripe" is the real "aha moment" for the album. GIVERS unleash the languid secret weapon of Tiffany Lamson's breathless voice, which in juxtaposition to the effervescent synths creates a dynamic and novel sound. Moments like this are woven into the entire album, such as in the euphoric ending of "Saw You First," the flutes of "Atlantic," and the mellow and enchanting "Go Out at Night." "Go Out at Night" strips away the Afropop instrumentals (and whatever other tricks GIVERS have up their sleeve) and presents Guarisco in a moment of calm, an eerie, but lovely chance for Guarisco to prove that there is more he can do with his voice than the poppy surf-rock sounds that we are used to from other bands. It is in the rare moments where the vehement vocals rise above the bubbly arrangements and are heard "in light" that we can truly understand that GIVERS deserve every ounce of happiness that they exude. This isn't an indie-rock band that has terrific instrumentals that supplement for its meak vocals or vice-versa; GIVERS give us an example of a band where both the instrumentals and vocals could stand on their own, and the synthesis of the two is both harmonious and innovative. The energy produced from the band in these songs is so intoxicating that it feels as though they probably only needed to record these songs once. That isn't to say that this young band doesn't sound professional, it's just that their music seems to come so naturally to them, it's a youthful vigor with a surprising maturity.

    GIVERS are highly influenced by other music genres, and some of their tracks, such as "Ceiling of Plankton," sometimes seem to belong in strange places (in this example, the twitchy ska scene). GIVERS are so giddy and upbeat, that when songs like "Atlantic" and "Go Out at Night" it's as though the band (and your ears) need a breather from the audible bursts of elation. If this album intended to represent the progression of a summers day, then "Words" is the perfect closer to reflect on the daytime energy and nighttime livelihood of the season. The chorus of "before you know you'll see them again/the words go out so far and come back so hard/ and we'll see them again" serves as instruction from the band to repeat the album with each passing day. An album complete with gusto and playfulness, In Light is the soundtrack for summer that we've been waiting for. And with their buoyant, bombastic ear assault, it shouldn't be too hard to follow their lead with both feet.

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    Session Video: GIVERS

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