Givers
In Light


4.5
superb

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
July 12th, 2011 | 188 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What better place to begin a trip around the musical world than Louisiana.

As a broad generalization, certain musical genres are often strongly associated with certain cities, states or even countries of the world. When it comes to indie-pop, geographical locations such as New York City, California and pretty much the whole of England are those which immediately come to mind… One that would not is Louisiana. Yet, the hotbed of Cajun and Zydeco has managed to produce one of the most promising talents that the genre has seen in years: Lafayette quintet Givers. If one actually thinks about it, why wouldn't a state with such wide-ranging influences be equipped to conceive such an outfit? Taking advantage of the vast array of cultures surrounding them during their upbringing, Givers practically take you on a trip around the musical world on their debut LP 'In Light'.

Kicking things off with infectious lead single 'Up Up Up', the world music influences are readily apparent and seamlessly integrated, as synths are masterfully combined with all kinds of percussive instrumentation (not to mention a flute). Elsewhere, the finger-picked acoustic guitar of 'Saw You First' adds a Southern feel, 'Ripe' has a decidedly Asian flavor, 'In My Eyes' and 'Ceiling of Plankton' contain some Caribbean calypso, while the beautiful ukulele boasting 'Atlantic' somehow manages to convincingly carry a Celtic vibe! The percussive driven afro-beat of acts such as Vampire Weekend and Local Natives will come to mind, but via an abundance of layered melodies, Givers infuse subtle Cajun and funk influences to help differentiate the band from the indie-pop pack.

It goes without saying that in order for Givers' five members to carry off such an expansive array of sounds and influences, then they have to be a dexterous bunch. Occasionally recalling the early work of Australian octet Architecture in Helsinki, all five are indeed multi-instrumentalists and many have been brought up performing improvisational work. Keyboardist Nick Stephan also plays flute and saxophone, impressive bassist Josh LeBlanc was initially the band's guitarist and trumpet player, while percussionist and co-lead vocalist Tiffany Lamson often bangs away at a second drum set. It's not just a mess of noise however, with the arrangements finding a nice balance of controlled chaos that is all held together by some catchy as hell guitar-work courtesy of Taylor Guarisco. To this extent, kudos must also go to producer Ben Allen, whose previous critically acclaimed work includes Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' and Deerhunter's 'Halcyon Digest'.

In keeping with Givers' multi-dimensional aural assault, it only makes sense that vocals would also come from multiple sources. While drummer Kirby Campbell occasionally lends a hand, it is predominantly Guarisco and Lamson who brilliantly deliver the boy/girl dynamic on show here. Mostly, it is a back and forth interplay between the two ('Up Up Up'), occasionally they harmonize together ('Saw You First'), while sometimes Lamson's sweet and soulful croon dominates ('Ripe') and at other times it is the more conventional indie yelp of Guarisco that takes over ('Noche Nada'). The chemistry of the combination may best be heard on rock-oriented standout 'Meantime', where Guarisco initially takes center stage in front of some gorgeous 50s like guitar melodies. Then, at the three minute mark, a tempo switch signals Lamson to leave her striking mark, before a group chant of "Don't get stuck in the meantime, no such thing as the meantime". A fantastic guitar solo then caps the track off gloriously.

Cynics will likely point to Givers borrowing a little too much from influences and dressing up their (on average) five minute tunes with over-extravagant ambition. Many may have issues with a track like ‘Noche Nada’, and its continuous tempo switches and clashing dynamics. Yet, the manner in which such a song succeeds is a testament to the band’s craftsmanship and genuine nature, resulting in the collective being creative and experimental enough to rise above their influences. Importantly, those characteristics never compromise accessibility, with the uplifting celebratory exuberance on offer, undeniably being one of In Light’s most indelible traits. With even the (relatively speaking) conventional cuts including some kind of climactic twist or turn, the most predictable aspect of this captivating and diverse debut is its unpredictability. Without filler and incredibly expansive, ‘In Light’ begs for repeated listens to explore its multitudes of layers, rhythms and melodies, ultimately making it a surprise album of the year contender.

Recommended Tracks: Meantime, Up Up Up, Atlantic, Noche Nada (A Lot From Me) & Ceiling of Plankton.



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user ratings (78)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hi Purr Bowl

Drsmith4
July 12th 2011


1715 Comments


Ooooohh pretty cover!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, the cover is actually really appropriate. Wanted to mention it in the review along with about a million other things, but it was already getting a bit lengthy.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome review Davey. This sounds really interesting, I'll see if I can find it tomorrow.

Drsmith4
July 12th 2011


1715 Comments


Well-written review + producer of Merriweather/Halcyon + that fucking cover = I'm sold.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks guys. Ali, I can't recall what you thought of the Local Natives album, but I'm fairly sure you will like this to some extent.

This really grew on me too. It was a low 4 on 1st listen, but it's so much catchier than I initially thought. Although, as I said in the concluding paragraph, it will have its detractors.

Oh & Daniel, just to confirm: I think Allen co-produced both those albums, but I did a bit of reading to suggest he played a major role. He also produced Cee-Lo's 'Bright Lights, Bigger City' to show his diversity.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I heard the Local Natives album ages ago and didn't really make much of it, but then I saw them at a festival and enjoyed them quite a bit.

I was going to give the album another go but never really got round to it.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

That was another thing I was gonna mention in this review: I get the feeling Givers would actually be a much better live band than on record... Which is scary. There's just something about their almost improvisational way of structuring songs that would be a hoot to see/hear live.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha sounds like you were gonna write a text book on this :p

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yep, easily could have written an extra 2 paragraphs... Most of which would have fleshed out the variety on offer... Because a few people will think some of the songs tend to beed into each other.

Probably the biggest point I left out is that the penultimate track is a 7 minute ballad of sorts which does indeed stand out from the rest... & is sure to be the most divisive song on the album.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2011


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nothing wrong with lengthy closers, I'll get back to you once I've given it a listen.

bungy
July 12th 2011


8843 Comments


I really like these guys I should just buy this

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Haha chambered, I was wondering when someone would ask that? Short answer is "no". I was very close to 5'ing 'Foreign Tapes'. This is more like a 4.35.

Woohoo, someone else who had heard of the band. Gold star to bungy.

SeaAnemone
July 12th 2011


20300 Comments


this sounds like I'd like it... I'll report back later after listening : )

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments


me too. already on the third track

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oh oh, Eric is about to chop my tree down. Just remember that I liked Spokes.

SS, I'm almost certain you'd like this. Predicting a 4 from you.



SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments


Really catchy, thoroughly enjoyable. Doesn't seem like enough to grow to a 4, but hey, your guess what pretty good ; )

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You just wanted to prove me wrong.

"Catchy" & "enjoyable". They are indeed good descriptors. I may have played up the indie more than the pop on the review, but yeah, most of these songs are really catchy... Especially if you give them a chance.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


15979 Comments


Seems like good music drive to. Like, if I'm in a good mood going to work for some reason.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"Seems like good music drive to. Like, if I'm in a good mood going to work for some reason."

Or if you're in a bad mood & want something uplifting. Or would it just get you angrier that there all these happy people in your ears?





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