Young The Giant, a rapidly rising band hailing from Los Angeles, stopped into The Roxy this past weekend on their tour to dose the crowd with their infectious indie rock and offer their debut record for sale before its official release. I indulged in both :D
Having never seen this outfit since they changed their name to Young The Giant (the band was formerly The Jakes until late 2009), I was excited given everything I'd heard in passing and from their tunes I'd caught online and on the radio. "My Body" clearly comes to mind - and they gave an epic raucous animated performance of that song to close out their show. KROQ listeners in their 20s were screaming the lyrics, throwing their fists in the air and having the closest thing to an indie-rock mosh pit possible ... basically a mild lack of body control - mostly due to drunken excitement.
Sameer Gadhia - Young The Giant
BUT, the rest of their material was worthy of any indie-rockers playlist and, quite frankly, in a live setting, just as good as their single. Simply put, Sameer Gadhia and his clan rocked the shit out of The Roxy. Enough to convince me to buy their debut LP (even though I imagine they would have given it to me for free had they known that I would write them this stellar review).
The album fucking rocks.
"My Body," their lead single, with its bass heavy beginning, is the second track. It is preceded by "Apartment" - which is not what led me to my above statement, but is pleasant nonetheless.
The sexy and catchy single is followed by "I Got" - which is led by a sweet and easy guitar chord progression and beautiful vocals from Sameer. The song is not aggressive, but unlike too much indie rock these days, it is not so soft that you can't dance or sway to it. It has enough to keep you interested, and as a whole, is actually a beautiful song. They also nailed it in concert.
"Cough Syrup" is track four. This ballad is driven by drums that compliment the play between the band's two non-bass guitarists. It is followed by "God Made Man" - highlighted by a slow build up in the beginning that breaks out into an emotional and inspiring chorus.
"12 Fingers" is next and then "Strings" - which showcases the group sharing vocal duties. The recorded version of the track has a slightly dreamy, ocean breeze feel to it - something I did not feel/hear at the show. "Your Side" continues the dreamy like melodic themes of 12 Fingers. Also very enjoyable. "Galands" follows and has a lot of emotion and energy - as well guitar and vocal play that might excite jamband fans.
The next cut, "St. Walker," is a departure from the mood of their previous songs. The song feels like it has more angst and tension. The rhythm is faster and the singing has more overall range. Whereas the majority of their pieces are soft to their ears, the syncopation of "St. Walker" creates a markedly different effect on me as a listener. That changed experience quickly returns to mellow mood indie rock with the slow developing "Islands," the albums second to last track.
"Islands" is probably the one track that doesn't resonate with me. It doesn't really get moving until over halfway through the song when the drums come in. And, although it build beautifully from there on, my ears are too impatient to wait two minutes for the song to get there.
The album closes with "Guns Out" - a well composed ending track that highlights all the bands great characteristics - the chemistry of the guitar players, Sameer's beautiful voice and the drummers perfectly timed switches from symbol bashing to snare clapping.
All in all - the album is a great and pleasant listen. Its not fast indie rock and it is not slow indie rock - it is not drowned in sadness indie rock and it is not happy two-steppers indie rock either. It is a nice mixture and blend of a variety of musical influences that results in a collective masterpiece despite.
While I do think the album is great - none of the recordings, with the exception of "My Body" unleash the rawness that this band possesses live. Quite honestly, these guys really need to be seen to understand their recent rise to success and why they may just be one of the most talked about bands of 2011.
All pictures on gratis license courtesy of Brandon Dorsky. Please provide attribution to Brandon Dorsky and www.supergoodmusic.com should you use the photos.