Californian natives Young The Giant were the darlings of SXSW this year and contrary to the media hype surrounding the five-piece, their debut album sounds more like an exercise in corporate music marketing than it does a creative endeavour.
The main problem with this record is not its lack of appealing tunes, but the fact that the music has been polished to perfection and in the process of generating a bankable project, the production has stripped away any trace of personality, originality and heart – which are three things that distinguish good music from great music.
It’s difficult to describe Young The Giant’s sound as there is nothing on this record that is uniquely their own. The album fails to leave a lasting impression with the generalised blasé nature of the production, which has been tailored to the cross over indie market with the sharp, sweeping, anthemic arrangements that play out on every track as though they were designed to be performed in stadiums to the adoring masses.
The band comes across as a strange amalgamation of Kings Of Leon’s (post “Sex On Fire”) mixed with the pop sensibilities of Maroon 5 and while the music is comprised of rich, layered arrangements the lack of character on this record is endlessly disappointing.
Young The Giant have played it safe and the catchy radio friendly tracks like “Apartment”, “My Body”, and “Cough Syrup” are a lot of fun, but the buzz dies quickly and by the middle of the record the formulaic song writing becomes tiring listening.
One can only hope the bland nature of this debut is due to label interference and that in time the band will release something that explores the depth of their obvious talent. The music is easy listening pop attempting to sound like indie-rock and it’s sure to appeal to a mass audience, but the heart and soul of Young The Giant appears to have been sacrificed for economic gains and this has made for an uninspired, instantly forgettable debut.
Review Score: 4/10