Produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Young The Giant has made a spectacular return with their sophomore album “Mind Over Matter” after storming the charts with their self titled debut album over three years ago. As most of my friends now, I am a huuuuge fan of Young The Giant. Their summery and minimalist album “Young The Giant” has been a recurring favorite in my iTunes since its release in late 2010. When I caught wind that a new album had been released, I immediately wondered if it would turn out to be a carbon copy of their previous album or if they would fall victim to the dreaded sophomore slump.
The album starts off strong with “Anagram” – which deserves to be a single – an upbeat rock song with a heavy synth presence which definitely captures the overall feel of the album in one song. Unlike their previous album, Mind Over Matter is appropriately filled with synthesized chords which compliments superbly the silky, melodic chord progressions. Such as in lead single “Crystallized” – an exceptional rock song that perfectly melds lead singer Sameer Ghadia’s emotional and strong-lunged vocals with the synthesizers and the pop inspired garage-band style that the group is known for.
Mind Over Matter does more than just stand out as compared to its predecessor. It shows us, the audience, that this band has matured and their talents have ripened over the past three years of silence. In terms of style – this album does a complete 180. “Eros” is the perfect melding of the old and the new. It contains the synth rock sound and the glossy production that emboldens the album, but maintains the minimalist and the garage band feel that originally made the band famous.
It could also be said that the album is a bit overproduced. Often times, Ghadia’s voice can seem to be lost in an ocean of heavy production and synthesizers. The fancy packaging of this album can often take away from the overall content of the music which is stocked full of bolder and more personal lyrics like “paralyzed on the floor … will I survive the night?”
If you go into this album expecting to get a continuation of their previous album, you will be sorely disappointed. If you begin with an open mind and are receptive to the fact that this young band has grown, and still has much more room for potential growth, you will realize that this album saves itself from the sophomore slump by creating a schism between itself and the previous album. In the eyes of some, this movement away from their original sound could be a step backwards. However, in terms of creativity, this is a sure step forward for Young The Giant and I am sure their evolution will not plateau here.