Young the Giant
Mind Over Matter


3.7
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
January 21st, 2014 | 138 replies | 15,735 views


Release Date: 01/21/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Far from paralyzed, even if the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

Has there ever been a more mismatched band and record label combination than Young the Giant’s self-titled LP being released by Roadrunner Records? Here we had a young group of Californian indie-rockers rubbing shoulders with metal behemoths such as Opeth and Slipknot. Maybe it was this weird amalgam of genres – along with the constant promotion of the quintet’s multicultural backgrounds – which heightened anticipation for the record to the point of inevitable disappointment. While many pundits recognized the talent that the band possessed, they were also critical of the derivative & indistinct nature of their sound – Pitchfork being particularly scathing awarding the album a 2.7 rating out of 10. Clearly, some matters needed addressing; the first of which would be their record label. So, for follow-up album ‘Mind Over Matter’, Young the Giant have switched over to, umm, Fueled By Ramen!

Thankfully, the likes of Cobra Starship and Panic! At the Disco need not worry about their toes being stepped on, with the band once known as The Jakes continuing to hone their accessible indie-rock style. While the muscular rhythm section of Payam Doostzadeh and Francois Comtois continue to make otherwise forgettable tunes well worth a listen, Young the Giant have downplayed the dual guitar interplay of their music for a somewhat more synth, keys & strings driven sound. Wisely guided by producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Neon Trees, Crystal Fighters), more ambience is instilled into the groups music, allowing the focus to marginally shift towards the collective’s song-writing, as well as the versatile vocal range of Sameer Gadhia. While a natural evolution, cynics could once more make a case that this is simply following trends and not distinguishing Young the Giant from the indie-rock pack.

As with the self-titled release, ‘Mind Over Matter’ front-loads its more accessible tunes. Lead single ‘It’s About Time’ is a gritty rocker which has an interesting aggressive edge, even if it lacks the hooks of its predecessor’s counterpart ‘My Body’. The catchier keys-driven 2nd single ‘Crystallized’ immediately follows, sounding like a composite of all four LPs by The Killers rolled into one song! Yet, it is the strings-heavy title track which sees the band at their most assured, melding musical components old and new, while Gadhia belts out his vocals convincingly. Unfortunately, the album’s latter half is a little more hit and miss, with everything being competent enough in isolation, but arguably unengaging when amassed together. Young the Giant too often get themselves stuck in a mid-tempo rut that makes the LP feel even longer than its 53 minute duration, with only the affecting ‘Camera’ and funky ‘Eros’ standing out.

One area of advancement shown here is thematical focus and cohesion, since there are constant – but not overbearing – references to paralysis and succumbing to pressure. This is again best exemplified on the title track, where Gadhia tellingly sings “And if the world don’t break, I’ll be shaking it, 'cause I’m a young man after all. And when the seasons change, will you stand by me, 'cause I’m a young man built to fall”. In comparison to the 2nd full-length releases of similar – and superior – bands, ‘Mind Over Matter’ isn’t as large an evolution as Foals’ ‘Total Life Forever’, nor as captivatingly dynamic as Local Natives’ 'Hummingbird’. It’s enjoyable though, and in a strange sense its replay value is strong, since listeners are fully able to appreciate the band’s individual components on subsequent listens. Ultimately, however, Young the Giant are still a work in progress, with the whole still being less than the sum of the quintet’s parts.

Recommended Tracks: Mind Over Matter, Eros, It's About Time & Crystallized.




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user ratings (107)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Jonatan Garibay (2.5)
“Mind Over Matter” is still the commercial Young the Giant that we heard in 2010-2011 with a tad...

Nathan Taft (4)
Aside from a few minor growing pains, “Mind Over Matter” proves Young the Giant is maturing into...

Green Baron (4)
It's about time....


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2014



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Guess who's back, back again!?

Apologies if the review comes off as a little on the fence. It's one of those "I like this, but it could have been much better" albums.


mryrtmrnfoxxxy
January 21st 2014



12951 Comments


hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Digging: Electric Wurms - Musik Die Schwer Zu Twerk

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2014



10056 Comments


Yayyy, Davey review < 3

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2014



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

First review in over 5 months! Can you feel the rust?

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
January 21st 2014



12951 Comments


is this the place to "start"

Green Baron
January 21st 2014



19517 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dammit you beat me to it
that's what i get for focusing on schoolwork

probably still will review this

Digging: Royal Blood - Royal Blood

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2014



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Nope foxxxxxxxxxxxy. Go with their self-titled LP first. It puts this album more into perspective.

Sorry GLM. I hope that I at least did the album proud.

Green Baron
January 21st 2014



19517 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's always a good thing when the review is better than the album itself ;)

crystallized and it's about time are some of the best songs on here. second half kind of drags a bit though

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2014



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

While I eventually came around to the title track being the clear standout, my other highlights keep swapping around. The 2 singles you mention are there or thereabouts, while I also like Eros & Camera. The 2 other growers for me were Anagram & Paralysis.

Green Baron
January 21st 2014



19517 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm just glad they avoided sophomore slump

ColeTeeple
January 21st 2014



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like this band but I enjoy them much more when I don't listen to an album fully.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2014



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Agreed GLM.

Great point Cole. In fact, if you put the best 6 tracks from each of their 2 albums together, it'd make for one fantastic LP.



Willie
Moderator
January 21st 2014



15908 Comments


Is the soundcloud player showing up now?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2014



6004 Comments


Yeah, I'm jamming the song right now and it works/shows up fine.

Digging: Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez

Funeralopolis
January 21st 2014



11212 Comments


dat soundcloud feature

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Cygnatti
January 21st 2014



21350 Comments


it's been too long davey ;/

Emyay
January 21st 2014



5941 Comments


i've heard of this band, but i can't remember where from. i'll give this a spin at some point

dmp3131
January 21st 2014



569 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sounds cool, I enjoyed their s/t so I'll have to check this out.

RadicalEd
January 21st 2014



2590 Comments


Love the soundcloud link in the review. Great review as usual Davey. Was not to hot on their debut, but the 2 songs I heard from this are pretty good.

henryChinaski
January 21st 2014



2721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool man! Glad you chose to review the new Young The Giant as your first review in five months haha. I'm listening to Anagram for the hundredth time or so in like two days. So damn catchy. Nice review!

Digging: The Tidal Sleep - Vorstellungskraft



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