In what may be an example of professional misdirection in marketing at its most tactful, record mogul and Indie Pop Kevin-Bacon-from-The-Air-Up-There Daniel Glass has seemed pretty modest about the chances for success of his newest find GIVERS. In recent interviews, he has implied that the recorded product on In Light probably won’t hold a candle to the band’s trademark live show, which is really where he wants people to connect with the band. Listeners should be taken completely by surprise then that, behind the thick, sprawling production of In Light are the sounds of a band tirelessly creating and applying their own ideas to the point of near-perfection.
It’s truly a rare and precious occurrence when something this sonically bloated is also this substantively accomplished. With help from producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter) and mixing master Chris Coady (whose work earlier this year single-handedly brought …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead out of prog-rock oblivion), GIVERS somehow manage to present every note, flourish and minute texture on In Light as if they’ve refreshingly never been put to wax. Only one minute into opener “Up, Up, Up” (whose background synth line playfully resembles that of Rilo Kiley’s “Breakin’ Up”), otherworldly vocal harmonies and intensely high-in-the-mix percussive nick knacks expand into a jubilant barrage of heavy drums and fully-fleshed keyboards.
“Saw You First”, a driving track of multi-layered folk guitars and vocal flourishes, is symptomatic of the band’s “sprint out of the gates” mindset, as they attempt to pack every idea they have into the album’s 51 minutes. In doing so, they successfully take interesting musical turns at nearly every minute of every song. Among the myriad fragmented melodies and instrumental arrangements, the choirboy vocals of Taylor Guarisco and the sultry howl of Tiffany Lamson never get lost in the chaos, like that found on “Atlantic”.
Possibly the only genuine knock against In Light may be the glaring extent to which these songs are informed by the already-existing conventions of “indie” and the stylistic techniques of bands that epitomize the genre; but while, for instance, the slight rhythmic dressing of “Meantime” unavoidably brings to mind earlier work by Architecture in Helsinki, the association is never enough to prevent the band from making each moment of the song their own. In fact, the ability to take an area of modern music so widely traversed in recent years and push its creative limits to the breaking point is simultaneously GIVERS’ most endearing and surprising trait.