Young the Giant
Southern California band Young the Giant continues to cultivate a breezy pop-rock vibe on its sophomore album, "Mind Over Matter". But where the group's 2011 debut had a few tracks that commanded attention, "Mind Over Matter" is a much more tepid affair that doesn't stand out.
It's not for lack of trying: The album features numerous soaring choruses and earnest vocals from Sameer Gadhia (who reaches some extreme heights on "Eros"), as well as intricate melodies from the group's two guitarists. But as a whole, these songs blur together, and the album sounds formulaic. Even the subtle differences—the sultriness of "It's About Time", the whisper of "Firelight"—don't set the songs apart from one another. Unimaginative lyrics add to the album's insipid tone. Such banalities as "I know I was born for this / Every night I dreamt of it" ("In My Home") recall countless other crowd-pleasing clichés that sound good in the moment but don't make a lasting impact.
The radio is full of bands that sound like Young the Giant: breezy yet earnest, catchy yet relatively unobtrusive. And on "Mind Over Matter", this quintet has done little to set itself apart from the rest of the pack.
-- Catherine P. Lewis