Here at The Past and the Pending my goal is always to draw what I believe to be the synthesis between mainstream, indie, and alternative music. I’m looking for the music that most people will really like if they give it a try. Plenty of blogs exist to introduce the newest experimental indie, and I appreciate that, but at this blog I try very hard to listen to what’s out there and say to myself “my friends would really like this”. And when I heard Young the Giant’s album for the first, second, and 24th times these past two weeks, it kept occurring to me how well they do at being that perfect synthesis between the interesting, creative elements of alternative rock and a pure listenability that most would enjoy.
Young the Giant’s album starts with perfection, which raises the bar quite high. “Apartment” is a moody piece that establishes the setting remarkably. Lead vocalist Sameer Gadhia has a wonderful delivery, and when his tone hits lines like “After leaving your apartment/I feel this cold inside me” or alternates between “school kids” and “cool kid” on “My Body” he displays some of the most interesting vocals I can think of in current music.
“Cough Syrup” and its opening guitar plucks and soft cello is the album’s catchiest track and might be the song that you’ve heard. It’s also one of the best here, although the competition is crowded. “Strings” breaks from the mold the most, bringing a dreamy island flair. “Garrands” is also outstanding, and for reasons beyond the fantastic opening guitar salvo.
There’s truly no bad track on this album, only degrees of goodness (or, in the case of “Apartment”, greatness). The choice to close on the combination of “Island” and “Guns Out” is particularly good as well. “Islands” is by far the most stripped down track, softly drifting over distant guitar and deliberate percussion. “Guns Out” and it’s falsetto-tinged chorus declares “it’s so wonderful”, and he’s right. This is an album that caught me off guard. I knew of and liked “Cough Syrup” before a couple weeks ago, but I had no idea how much I’d love this album. It does not impose it’s creativity upon you, but it does not lack it altogether. Instead, it provides the perfect synthesis. I suggest you give it a shot and I hope it surprises you as much as it surprised me.