Album Review: 'Mind Over Matter'
Published: Friday, January 24, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 24, 2014 00:01
With their second studio album, “Mind Over Matter,” Young the Giant is certainly proving to audiences that they have come into their own both commercially and artistically. After receiving mixed reviews from critics on their debut album, the indie-rock band has incorporated novel musical styles in “Mind Over Matter” to create a new sheen of artistry. This young group of five Californian musicians is sure to move from playing at small-time gigs to peaking on the U.S. Billboard charts in late January when their second album hits audiences worldwide.
The album covers a variety of musical styles. Songs such as “Anagram” would be perfect when getting ready to go out, while others, like “Paralysis” are better suited to listening to as you catch up on readings for class. And then there are a select few songs such as “Waves,” that are heavy on the instrumental and lyrically toned-down for the more melodramatic listeners.
The album’s most popular single, “It’s About Time,” has elements of less mainstream music that you would not expect from the band’s reserve of low-key, more laid-back alternative tunes. However, in this single and in many others featured on the album, Young the Giant proves that it is capable of perfectly fusing together the two styles to create a very unique melody. The members of the band work well together to generate musical grace as Sameer Gadhia’s unswerving vocals do not overpower Jacob Tilley’s soulful guitar strumming, nor do they get lost under Francois Comtois’ powerful, warlike drumming.
However, toward the second half of the album, it seemed that Young the Giant was trying to take on too much. The song “Camera” constituted the most lackluster five minutes of “Mind Over Matter.” The style is not very catchy and the mundane lyrics fail to keep the song upbeat, likely resulting in listeners quickly moving on to the next track.
It’s worth noting that the title song, “Mind Over Matter,” playfully bounces between alternative indie to indie-rock and contains a few musical qualities like loud, almost-shouted lyrical statements followed by soft, quiet whispering. While these lyrics follow a peak and trough style, inspirational guitar thrumming provides a poignant backdrop to the song, and, for a moment, they invoke memories of American indie-rock band The Shins. Integrating another band’s unique elegance without butchering the song is truly a redeeming quality to look for in bands.
For the most part, “Mind Over Matter” evokes a sense of imagery and fortitude through the frequent string-heavy styles and convincing vocals that flow in and out of each track. The most popular singles of the album, such as “It’s About Time,” “Crystallized” and “Mind Over Matter,” have definite replay value, while other songs such as “Daydreamer” and “Firelight” are more esoteric in their ambiguous fusion of folk and indie flairs. Although a little hit-and-miss at times during the latter half of the album, “Mind Over Matter” as a whole is well worth a listen.