It’d be less of an understatement and more downright bloody obvious to say that Givers’ first single, ‘Up Up Up’, was absolutely played to death on the radio waves since its release. And adverts. And telly montages. You get the idea. As ace a debut single it might be, ten hours of singing “Yeah, we up up up!” to yourself is enough to drive anyone a little crazy. Basically, that kind of irresistible happiness does get boring, folks. So it’s perhaps a blessing in disguise that it appears on In Light as the opening track – no needless skipping to the only track you know.
Saying that, it’s highly likely that you’ve also heard ‘Meantime’, the just-as-infectious, just as bounce-inducingly bonkers second single. The Louisiana outfit could, quite fairly, be accused of front loading their debut record just a bit here, but for the mental opening rush being taken down a relieved notch on ‘Saw You First‘, which showcases their ever present harmonies to subtler effect.
These subtleties deserve a mention; amid the cacophony of Jamaican-Brazilian drumming and insane tempos hide some really quite impressive electric-guitar flourishes and MGMT-esque synths. They’re the same small touches that made Vampire Weekend’s debut so absorbing too, and In Light feels a lot like Vampire Weekend caked in layers of riotous noise and general nuttiness.
Like the band’s hometown, this record is a melting pot of influences and tried and tested styles. Most work to the utmost of success, like ‘Ceiling of Plankton’, where Animal Collective-isms and a star-gazing naivety tone down the hyperactivity to a more palatable notch. Some, like the stripped back, seven and a half minutes ‘Go Out All Night’ really don’t act as anything more than throwaways. It’s a cracking sentiment, but Givers, unfortunately, haven’t set it to music all that well.
But for the odd missed mark, this is a mostly great debut. Probably the most refreshing and, strangely enough, least obvious thing about it is the fact that it sounds so much like a collection of tracks inspired by a certain lifestyle. At the risk of mawkishness, the band’s appreciation of their home and of the musical diversity it offers lends this album a feeling of authenticity. You might not fancy the over-active drumming, or the twirling, sea-sick tempo changes, but it takes a cold hearted music fan not to appreciate the feel of a record, and so while Givers’ In Light might not exactly be the gift that keeps on giving, it’ll give you enough for a good while at the very least. Particularly in the sun.
From Joe Abbitt.