By Katie Olson
Southern California indie-rock outfit Young The Giant has released their second album, Mind Over Matter, after three years and a 45-stop tour. One of the singles released from the new album, “It’s About Time”, seems to mirror the feelings of the group’s fanbase.
Since three years have passed since the release of their debut album, I was concerned, like many fans I’m sure, that they would come back with a completely different sound. The first two singles, “It’s About Time” and “Crystallized”, professed a much more aggressive, standardized rock sound than is heard on the previous album. I teetered on a tightrope in between refreshed and disappointed for about a week after I heard the two songs.
When the album was released on January 21st, it felt like fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. I decided that the two singles were absolutely refreshing, as is the rest of the effort. The record begins with a track titled “Slow Dive”, which is composed of a gradual 47-second fade into the second track, “Anagram”. The two singles are then showcased, followed by what I interpret to be the best part of the album.
The title track alone has garnered over 50,000 listens on the band’s SoundCloud, where one listener comments, “Waiting was worth it.”
“[‘Mind Over Matter’] was the first song we wrote after the writer’s block, and I think it was a triumph over that writer’s block period that we had,” said lead vocalist, Sameer Gadhia, in a video chronicling the making of the album.
The song sounds like a triumph as well. A distorted organ plays the intro and is met with orchestral strings while Gadhia executes his vocal talent perfectly. You can’t help but assume that Gadhia is singing about personal experiences of his and his bandmates’ as the chorus reads:
You know you’re on my mind/ And if the world don’t break
I’ll be shaking it/ ‘Cause I’m a young man after all
And when the seasons change/ Will you stand by me
‘Cause I’m a young man built to fall
The song speaks about the difficulty of being on the road while there are people you love waiting for your at home: Mind over matter/ I’m in tatters thinking’ ’bout her
“Daydreamer” and “Firelight” come after the title track and reveal the softer side of the album. But “Camera” is the most underestimated effort.
The first time I heard that song was back in July of 2012 when I went to their show at the OC Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California. Gadhia introduced it as a “new song for the next record.” I was so pleased to hear that it had actually made the cut. The track exhibits a more experimental sound from the band.
“In My Home” is perhaps the most disappointing track on the album. It feels like the band was trying a little too hard to impress record executives. To me, the song embodies that girl in high school that wanted so badly to fit in with the cool crowd. Young The Giant doesn’t need to produce tracks like that – they already are the cool kids.
“Teachers”, “Eros”, and “Waves” are all solid efforts, and the record comes to a close with a track titled “Paralysis”. The closing song seems to echo themes from “Anagram” and successfully pulls the album together at its close.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gadhia talks about the theme of the album:
“The idea of Mind Over Matter could be many different things, but for us it was a little mantra of trying to get past these certain obstacles that one makes three-dimensional, but which are actually a figment of our own imagination. The record was trying to objectively see that.”
Mind Over Matter is indeed a success, and without a doubt a more sonically cohesive effort than the group’s first record. If you would like to listen for yourself, the entire album is on the band’s SoundCloud.