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Young the Giant brings 'extra crunch' with album release

Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014

Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:01

Young the Giant

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It’s been a little more than three years since Irvine, Calif.’s Young the Giant released their first album; their smooth, sultry self-title came out way back in 2010 and peaked at No. 42 on the Billboard charts. And if you ask any fan of the five-piece they’ll tell you it’s been far too long of a wait.

“Mind Over Matter” is the band’s second studio album and first under their new label Fueled By Ramen (Paramore, Fun., Panic! At the Disco). The new album features much of the same sounds heard on their first album, but lead singer Sameer Gadhia and crew have added some new elements to their already contagiously blissful sound.

The album opens with “Anagram,” a delightfully poppy song that sets the tone for much of the rest of the album. The next few tracks, “It’s About Time,” “Crystallized,” and “Mind Over Matter,” promote the band’s change from poppy, indie-rock czars to a more arena-rock friendly vibe. If the band emulated a hipster-Sinatra feeling before then they’ve now entered the realm of bands like The Killers and Fun., bands whose music is more likely to gain fans and sell out arenas.

These tracks also feature the inclusion of synth into the band’s repertoire of sounds, which works on some levels, but on others it falls short. The use of synth at the beginning of “Crystallized” makes me feel like I’m being rubbed down with a ball of velvet; in other words, it’s a little too soft and feels a bit unnecessary in context with the sound of the rest of the album.

On other tracks, such as the album’s namesake “Mind Over Matter,” the use of synth works perfectly and gives the track a spacy atmosphere. The thoughtful and sugary sweet lyrics of “Mind Over Matter” tell the story of two star-crossed lovers separated by distance, and is written in the manner of one lover writing letters to his sweetheart.

The album really shines through on the lighter tracks “Firelight” and “Camera.” The former is dreamy and beautiful, driven by spacy drones and light undistorted guitar plucking, while the latter is reminiscent of songs like “Apartment” and “Islands” from the first album.

“Eros” is another fun track with the grooviest bass and drum play of all the tracks on the album; drummer Francois Comtois and bassist Payam Doostzadeh seem to be having so much fun with the outro that the groove lasts for a good while even after Gadhia has finished crooning.

But like the age long battle between crunchy and smooth peanut butter, there are some people that are going to like the extra crunch this album brings, while others will prefer the smoothness the band’s first album introduced.

Whether people agree with the small changes in sound on “Mind Over Matter,” one thing is for sure; Young the Giant is quickly becoming the next big thing in pop-rock music. The band has the potential to gain even more supporters thanks in part to performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, NBC’s “Today Show” and a performance at the 2011 VMA’s, not to mention the use of their songs on various TV shows and commercials.

And when Young the Giant finally hit the big time, selling out arenas and topping the charts, I’ll be ready and waiting to fire off that age old hipster adage: “Oh, Young the Giant? Yeah, I knew them before they were cool.”


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