Normally it takes at least a few good listens of an album before its greatness can be determined.
In the case of Young the Giant’s self-titled album, it takes all of 10 seconds. And for good reason: The CD is ripe with harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and a sound that changes, evolves, thickens and restructures throughout. Be wary — this is no Justin Bieber album; it is, however, easily one of the finest albums of the year, and one not likely to escape the confines of any CD player once inserted.
The all-out blitz of indie rock songs starts off with “Apartment,” a song that intimately captures the feeling of being completely alone. But what could very easily be a deeply despondent and clichéd song about a bleeding heart remains anything but. Using complex layered harmonies during the chorus, lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s “oh’s” and “whoa’s” balance the song’s upbeat tempo, keeping the song fresh and resounding. What results could be the musical offspring of The Temper Trap and Maroon 5, and one of the best songs on the album.
However, “Apartment” is only the beginning. Following is “My Body,” perhaps Young the Giant’s most commercially successful song and the rocking-est track of the album. Dueling guitar riffs roar, spring-loaded drumbeats pound and soaring vocals charge through the chorus: “My body tells me no, but I won’t quit. ‘Cause I want more, I want more.”
Each of the songs that follow “My Body” adds its own depth: “I Got” features a sort of rhythmic repetition that carries easily through. “Cough Syrup” plays like a scaled-back “My Body,” but finds equilibrium between the song’s raw energy and poetic lyrics. “St. Walker” seems to be the deepest lyrically, comparing a friend’s whoring to drowning in deep water. While every track on the album lyrically tackles a different subject, nothing described is entirely foreign to anyone listening. Politics or other divisive topics have no place on the album. Instead, more relatable feelings such as love, loss, rebuilding and rising above are themes that bind the album into one sweet musical package.
Truth be told, Young the Giant isn’t a newcomer to the field. Previously known as The Jakes, the core of Young the Giant has been around since 2004. But its songs are different from those on The Jakes’ last EP, “Shake My Hand.” Reinvented, resolute and more confident, Young the Giant has solidified its place among this year’s up-and-comers. The band has seen quite a bit of success since its album dropped in January. “My Body” made it to No. 4 on Billboard’s Top 40 for alternative rock, and Young the Giant has been a festival favorite at venues such as South by Southwest and Sasquatch! Music Festival.
So far, the band has been mum on when its next album will drop. What is known, however, is what the band members have going for them: They’re young, they’re giant and they’re going places.