Givers have leapt forward with In Light, an album of brimming with exuberance and bright pop flavours. Pinned together by sweet vocals and feelgood guitar hooks, In Light racks up 50 minutes' playing time, but like all sweet things, a little goes a long way and in Givers' case, all the sugar may well be too much. The strange sound of Vampire Weekend's suburban soul coupled with tribal rhythms has obviously made a big impact on Givers: practically all their songs are embellished with exotic rhythms, glorious jangles and high jinks.
The strange thing about Givers' album is the fact that it flashes and bursts with fabulous energy and has a surplus of snazzy riffs and beats that take quite some time to absorb and so, its best moments come later. Hailing from Louisiana, it seems apt that they appear to have thrown every influence and instrument into the pot, cooking up a magical, mind-altering gumbo.?
Beginning with 'Up Up Up's cute harmony intro and dancefloor heart-thud booms, In Light moves on to the fantastic, broken-up 'Meantime'. 'Ripe' has a childish attention span with barely any continuity. While the agile intro sounds better suited to a Battles show, it flits form constantly. In most ways Givers want to write big happy songs like Broken Social Scene but seem to get caught at gigs, discos and parties on their way to rehearsals, colouring their bare constructs with everything else they hear. Fans of Tieranniesaur will enjoy this record, although Annie Tierney and friends seem to have a better handle on streamlining their structure.
'Noche Nada' begins with what sounds like Beach House's Lover Of Mine, 'Ceiling Of Plankton' is a gorgeous male vocal and supreme style that switches from 90s dancefloor pop, pumps with bass and more weird tribal rhythms, and then after a fantastic flurry of keys, merges everything into a thrilling finale. It's almost short, it's definitely sweet: the key to success for Givers lies therein.
The downside to Givers is their strange attention to detail. Too much all at once, not enough for long enough; just at the points when this listener things "BOOM - finish it" a quick check of the tracks' time-elapse will always show there's still another two minutes left to go. Guitar seems to be used to unnecessarily elongate the tracks: the shortest song on the ten-track is 'Ceiling Of Plankton' at 4m20s but most others are bound closer to five minutes with the longest number at 7m24s is 'Go Out At Night', further protracted by almost 2.5 minutes of guitar solo and flourishing percussion.
'Go Out At Night' is an unusual one for at ninth place, seems to mark the first instance that Givers quit the happy-clappy act and make some genuinely emotional music but unfortunately seems a little too late. Stripped down at first to little more than a rhythm section, there are brief rasps in the harmonies while Tiffany Lamson's voice really shines when given a darker, simpler background. Atlantic precedes, a mix of pop and presence that is overshadowed slighly but comes into its own with further listens.
The constant barrage of textures and time signatures is unnerving, and they've taken happiness to an uncomfortable level, which in this case the listener a bit dejected, like leaving the house feeling happy with your appearance before realising the world's top models are filming a commercial at the garden gate. September may seem an odd time to release these lightweight songs, unless by catching the last rays of summer light, Givers hope to become a dead cert for the next sunny season.