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Album Review: Givers, In Light

Track: Saw You First

Find it At: Amazon|I-Tunes|InSound

The homegrown melodic stylings of Givers sure does bring me back–and what a feeling it is.

When I gave their debut album In Light my first spin I was immediately transported to my freshman year of college. My floor-mates and I were traversing the landscape of downtown Hattiesburg–lit only by street lights and neon bar signs–where muffled sounds of live music became our sidewalk soundtrack.

We stumbled into a small bar called The Thirsty Hippo, lit only by multi-colored christmas lights, the feeling of the place was surreal.

A band was playing and the crowd was shoulder to shoulder–caught onto every word being sung–everyone sang along and everyone seemed to know one another. There was such a feeling of not only camaraderie, but of creation–as if this was all “theirs”. It was their local venue, their local band, their friends, their songs–to them it was more than a place–it was a home.

This same feeling of homeliness is packed into each track of Givers In Light. From start to finish this album succeeds in something that most albums fail in–growth and maturity. A lot of recent albums seemed to be mixed in a format that is meant for singles–in doing so the “art” of the album is lost.

“Mixing for singles” seems to give us a bunch of good tracks but  you might have to skip around to find ’em. When an album is mixed like a storybook, you can feel it–each track plays off of the former and by the end of the album– you ultimately feel closer with the group. You watch the product grow and mature with each song.

Quick bio before we begin!

The group Givers comes from Lafayette, Louisiana and has recently been signed to Glassnote Records, the label that has brought us acts such as Mumford and Sons, Royal Bangs and Phoenix.

They are a five piece group with vocals being shared by Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Gaurisco (also on guitar), on bass Josh Leblanc, on drums Kirby Campbell, and on horns and keyboards is Nick Stephan.

Upon reading the instrumentation, it may seem like their songs could be a bit too busy–I mean.. horns and keyboards, not to mention on the album notes ALL of them are listed as vocalists. It could easily be an overload.

However, the songs are produced greatly and the group utilizes instruments such as keyboards, xylophones, and horns to add flair and to further their songs–allowing them to go new and unexpected places.

The album starts off with the bands first single in which they are perhaps the most known for–Up, Up, Up.

The track is your quintessential summer song, starting with a vocal led intro that slowly builds into an uproarious guitar and bell medley. The track deserves the attention it’s recieving not only for its catchy melody, but also for the structure. The song  seems to constantly add and take away instruments creating build ups and break downs that gives the song wings allowing it to take off and soar.

The vocals in this track are also something to take note of. Gaurisco and Lamson both sing, at places taking verses on their own–but at other points sharing lines–this helps to create the awesome build ups and the easy flow that the song has. Not to mention that the song is just really incredibly catchy.

From Up, Up, Up the album transitions into another great track–Mean Time. A song with an uplifting message where the singer is urging a far away lover to not be caught in the mean time because there is no such thing as the “mean” time, leaving us to enjoy the (intentional?) word play.

The caribean groove, minimal bassline and spot on percussion keeps the album growing and building until the next track, Saw You First.

Saw You First, showcases Givers knack for vocalization and their confidence for experimental arrangements. The song features bursts of voices that leap into falsettos, jump into crescendos and harmonies that are sure to keep you listening. The song also shows their instrumental abilities–breaking off into toe-tapping grooves played over simple time signatures.

Each song on In Light displays the bands immense talents. The group can harmonize like no other, and they certainly understand how to keep, not only a song, but an entire album interesting and catchy.

Though, as a whole, what impresses me the most is that Givers has the ability to play diverse songs that still fit into the continuity of their album.

For instance, Go Out At Night is a slower tune that shows the groups more gentle side. A man and woman singing to one another while using stellar lyrics. It’s very different, yet similar, to the rest of In Light. Even though the track has a different feel to it, it still contains the Givers touch and spirit. Like the rest of the album Go Out At Night incorporates beautiful harmonies, entrancing lyrics and well-executed build ups– it’s one of the best on the album.

It’s this ability that makes the band shine–the knack of having a diverse and interesting album while still keeping a familiarity to it–a home feeling to it.

Also, don’t be fooled by the production of the album! If you think that the layering and harmonies are only the work of a great producer–I hear that they are even better live! They are currently on tour– for all you locals they will be at Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge on July 30th–check their website for even more national tour dates.

I’ll actually leave you with a video of them performing Up, Up, Up on Jimmy Fallon in their television debut. Don’t just stop at Up, Up, Up though! Explore these guys, they have a lot to offer and you’ll surely be impressed!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Image Courtesy of The 227

Video Courtesy of NBC Universal

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