Young the Giant sticks closely to old sounds on new album

Rachel Chmielinski, co-sports editor

Three years after their self-titled debut album, Young the Giant takes on a new sound. No longer do their songs have the same radio appeal as the songs “Cough Syrup” or “My Body” from their previous album.

With the release of their sophomore album, Mind Over Matter, came the addition of synth, which added complex layers to each piece, but often too much synth was used. Although, when Young the Giant did fade the synth to feature the rhythm section, there was an unforgettable stroke of genius.

The band has matured a lot in their sound, but there is still a lot of room left for growth. They pushed their boundaries by getting rid of predictable chord progressions, and they stopped relying on catchy choruses to carry their songs.

There’s a depth to their writing in this album that they haven’t shown before, but in finding a new sound every band is sure to have its share of mishaps. The first half of Mind Over Matter keeps a lot of their old and more popular sounds intact, but it also does not display their full potential.

The album starts with “Anagram,” a bright and upbeat tune that keeps the band’s usual quick pace, and then moves on to “It’s About Time,” featuring typical Young the Giant heavy guitar work.

These two tracks were stellar choices to start off the album; they are catchy enough to capture a wide audience, while still keeping old fans satisfied.

The next track to follow is “Crystallized,” another catchy piece on the album. Unfortunately, there is nothing special about it. It doesn’t have the appropriate rises and falls a song needs to keep you interested; I was ready to skip the rest of the song by the second chorus.

I would put the title track “Mind Over Matter” in the same category as “Crystallized” – nothing special. The only thing that made it unique was the over-the-top vocals and heavier guitar that no one wants to hear.

I had started to give up hope until I hit “Firelight,” the turning point of this album. Starting with just a simple plucked guitar, it contrasts the rest of the album completely, and that is the most beautiful part of it.

On an album suffocated by synth, simplicity lets the genuine emotion seep through. For the first time Sameer Gadhia’s vocals really shine.

The rest of the album does not disappoint. This is where their growth and newfound diversity is really displayed. “Cameras” starts with melancholy organ tones while “Eros” gives off a playful ‘80s vibe with a compelling bass line.

“Teachers” had a lot of layers and was interesting individually, but it didn’t add anything new to the album except a longer run time.

I have mixed feelings about the final track, “Paralysis.” The first time I listened through, I thought this was a lame ending to such a powerful record, but after a second listen I realized it was actually the perfect conclusion. It encompasses the best parts in a cohesive and fresh form.

The album definitely had its weak spots, but I’m okay with that. Young the Giant is still trying to find their sound, which means they’ll probably go overboard on the synth more than once. But what the second half of this album told me is that they are capable of monumental success.