Release Date: Jun 7, 2011
Record label: Glass Note
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
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.
I love when a big deal band comes to town, sporting a local opener clearly breast-fed on their landmark albums. One example: indie-experimentalists Dirty Projectors, who turned heads at a recent Louisiana gig largely due to their openers—an energetic, instrument-swapping Lafayette-based five-piece known as Givers. With a dexterous instrumental attack, tuneful yet alien hooks, and a proficiency for squiggly, short-circuiting electric guitar fills, it’s obvious the former Paste Best of What’s Next band selected the Projectors’ Bitte Orca as a Desert Island Disc—but In Light, their official debut, fortunately transcends their transparent inspirations the old-fashioned way: by twisting the nuances of their heroes into a pretzel, paying homage by developing taking others’ good ideas and going someplace new.
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.
It's no wonder Givers have called their album In Light. It's so relentlessly upbeat, cheerful and full of life that you start to wonder whether they've been created by evil pharmaceutical manufacturers to promote the idea that heavy sedative use is not such a bad thing at all. There's an obvious Vampire Weekend feel throughout that carries the advert-friendly Up Up Up to cheerfully poppy heights, and elsewhere, there are surprising flecks of Broken Social Scene (In My Eyes), while Ceiling of Plankton ends up in Battles territory.
While a hundred and one indie bands are happy to pick at the bountiful remains of Nineties lo-fi, few have sought to follow the culture clash trail set by Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors. Whether this is down to general laziness or a tougher sound to emulate, music’s loss is Givers' gain. Percussion-driven jams and well-enunciated chanting may be oh so 2008 but since no real pretenders to the Afropop throne have emerged, who’s to blame them for having a crack at the whip? Judged on musicianship alone, this Louisiana quintet are up there with their obvious contemporaries.
Givers' 2011 full-length debut In Light fleshes out the dancey, hippie-leaning indie rock of the Louisiana band's self-titled 2009 EP. In fact, since the album simply adds five tunes to the EP, if you were already a fan you will certainly enjoy what the Givers have given up here. In many ways, In Light splits the difference between the peppy pseudo-Afro pop of Vampire Weekend and the percussive, improv-heavy dance rock of Local Natives.
Afrobeat-loving Louisiana five-piece [a]Givers[/a] formed after a series of 24-hour jam sessions and a spell in an improv covers band. While their love of premeditated spontaneity might be admirable in jazzier quarters, in reality it means that almost every song on their debut is marred by sudden changes in time signature, key and genre. As they’re probably high-fiving that they all just ‘sensed’ what should happen next, you’re left wondering where your song went.
While the story of Givers’ formation is very interesting (duo meet at the University of New Orleans, get chased home to Lafayette, Louisiana, by Hurricane Katrina, get discovered by music bigwig Daniel Glass), it pales in comparison to how enthralling their music is. Like a combination of different genres of world music and indie rock, it’s a wonder Givers didn’t spend their formative years traveling the globe and learning the music of different cultures. Running the gamut of pop, soul, funk, Cajun and Zydeco, all the while sounding decidedly indie rock (Surfer Blood and Beach House come to mind), Givers are a rare treat.
GiversIn Light(Valcour)Rating: Though you’d never know it, sunshiney Louisiana pop quintet Givers started more or less on a whim. As the story goes, singer and percussionist Tiffany Lamson was asked to fill time at a friend’s show, and invited the other band members on stage for an impromptu jam session. She recorded the gig just for kicks, and miraculously, their first demo was born.
Perky, post-Vampire Weekend indie-pop from Louisiana newcomers with a CBBC connection. Fraser McAlpine 2011 You’d think an album of perky, post-Vampire Weekend hipster indie with big chanting choruses would linger in the mind, wouldn’t you? Especially when these excitable Louisiana kids consistently and yelpily deliver all sorts of charming melodies; each song peppered with dynamic bits, obscured by wafty bits and strafed with fizzy explosions, sudden tempo changes and rickety lurches in rhythm. It’s an exhilarating first listen: you just don’t know what’s going to happen next.