Music Reviews
In Light

Givers In Light

(Glassnote) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

It seems that Glassnote has been priding themselves on bringing some of the hottest indie debuts to the table in the past couple years.  Their recent roster includes The Temper Trap, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, and Royal Bangs.  This time around, they take on Givers, a five-piece from Lafayette, Louisiana whose world-influenced indie pop inevitably raises Dirty Projectors and Vampire Weekend comparisons.  And for good reason: their bombastic live display had impressed Dirty Projectors enough to earn an invitation to tour as their support.  The release of In Light brings the climax of their much-blogged hype, delivering on the reputation they’ve accumulated from their live shows (TIME listed Givers as one of the “Ten Acts that Rocked South by Southwest”).  With any scenario like this, one is wary of the quirky, gimmicky signatures that hype bands generally cling to for recognition; in this case though, it’s apparent that Givers are sincere, even with all the artists they reminisce, in their music. 

Opener Up Up Up introduces Givers in all their charm, claiming the ground between Southern rock and the synth days of MGMT.  It’s an obvious single that showcases Givers’s carefree attitude and energy, undermining those notions of pretentiousness that come with such other blog stars.  Meantime follows through in exceptional form, embodying whatever it means to have a medley of time signatures.  And whatever it does mean, it is Givers’s uppermost peak of innovation. 

This is followed by an unfortunate string of songs that, while they’re not tastless at all, render themselves somewhat forgettable.  It’s actually not a case against the songs at all – Saw Your First and Nocha Nada are great songs - but with these upbeat, campy polyrhythmic twists and turns appearing on every track thus far (all the way into track seven), the dynamics are a little too monotonous to truly amaze.  Thankfully, the soulful energy of singer/percussionist/ukulelist Tiffany Lamson pierces on the latter half of In My Eyes and into Atlantic, which both give the band its first successful shots at demonstrating atmospheres and emotions other than abnormally sunny childhoods (I will admit though, I can’t foresee that their long-term scope ventures much further from this bright, upbeat pop).  Go Out at Night is a good example of where their willingness to explore other moods and textures flops.  It’s forgivable for being the only dreadful moment on the album, and even in its droning seven-minute blaze of indirection, it’s the first point in the album where Givers immerse themselves in mediocrity.

In Light is commendable for exploring the successful niche Givers have been residing within since their 2009 Givers EP.  It shows a band not quite at the stage of introspection or self-reflection, but regardless true to their apparent mission to deliver on cheerful, what-me-worry pop.  However, until they begin to explore avenues that force them to stretch themselves beyond what comes simply and easily to them, it’ll be a fair judgment to hail Givers as the younger sibling of Dirty Projectors.