By: Kevin Karn
Mind Over Matter
Young the Giant
Fueled by Ramen Records
Release Date: January 21, 2014
When Young the Giant released their self-titled, debut album in 2010, the band’s sound reflected who they were at the time: a group of rock musicians from Southern California. Having spent their days in the eternal summer of Newport Beach, they created an album that embodied the ocean and their SoCal upbringing. In short, it was the perfect soundtrack for a sunny drive up the coastline. However, the album was more than just a personal tribute; it was the birth of a giant.
Fast forwarding to today, Young the Giant has released their sophomore album, Mind Over Matter, which is a glimpse into their journey on the road over the past three years. It paints a picture of the band’s struggles during that time, while portraying a heightened level of maturity and self-awareness in the lyrics and sound. While many bands fall victim to the feared “sophomore slump,” Young the Giant avoids that by not trying to completely overhaul their music and instead looking to build upon their recipe for success.
One aspect of the album that stands out is the band’s desire to experiment with different sounds, receiving help from producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Tegan and Sara, Neon Trees). His influence permeates through the entire album, resulting in the thirteen unique and complimentary songs that comprise it. Of those thirteen tracks, “Crystallized” and the title track “Mind Over Matter” show Young the Giant’s willingness to incorporate different synthesized sounds and string orchestration over their classic combination of infectious guitar riffs and rhythmic drum beats. They also contain the signature catchy and upbeat choruses that fans have come to love.
In contrast with those two are the songs “Firelight” and “Camera” which show a minimalistic approach in production and showcase lead singer Sameer Ghadia’s breathtaking vocals. The melodious guitars coupled with lines such as, “Tell my friends I’m gone it’s true/I’ve passed on now/To the eyes of a dark, lost, blue,” bring the mind and subconscious to the forefront as two of the album’s strong themes. The inner struggles and battles that occur in the mind are both personal and relatable for anyone who listens.
Lastly, not to be lost in the mix, is the band’s hit single, “It’s About Time,” which is by far the most aggressive rock song the album boasts. Having been received well by most critics and experiencing an increase in radio play, the song bodes well for the rest of the album becoming more and more popular. At that point, many should see that with Mind Over Matter, Young the giant accomplishes the rare task of delivering lyrics and music that demonstrate how far they have come as indie rock superstars.
Recommended if you like: Walk the Moon, Two Door Cinema Club, Grouplove, Atlas Genius
Album Highlights: Mind Over Matter, Firelight, Camera, It’s About Time
01. Slow Dive
03. It’s About Time
05. Mind Over Matter
09. In My Home