Under The Influence Of Giants
Island Records, 2006
REVIEW BY: Melanie Love
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/06/2006
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Under The Influence of Giants' debut is one of the best albums of this year. I’m hoping this one sticks, unlike when I predicted James Blunt would never make it big and now he's played every other song.
It’s hard to say what’s had me so fascinated with the Giants ever since I heard their EP, Heaven Is Full. Maybe it’s because they’re from my hometown, Los Angeles. Or that they sound like everything from Prince to ELO to George Michael to Earth, Wind & Fire, switching it up each time the track changes. Either way, these guys (guitarist Drew Stewart, bassist David Amezcua, Jamin Wilcox on drums and keyboards and lyricist/vocalist Aaron Bruno) are fantastic.
From start to finish, the album is infectiously catchy, which is why you’re inevitably going to end up having tracks like “Got Nothing”, which brings back seventies funk with explosive choruses, horns and Bruno’s versatile vocals, buzzing around in your head long after they’re done playing.
The best thing about the Giants is that they’re impossible to pin down; one minute you’ve got a song like “Ah-Ha” grooving along and then, next, they’ve jumped into Beatles mode with the warm, swaying pop melodies of “I Love You,” before turning around and busting out pounding dance beats and growling vocals on synth-rocker “In The Clouds.”
The best moment on the record, though, definitely has to go to its lead single, “Mama’s Room,” which draws you in from the moment the guitar intro starts up. With its swirling, retro rhythm and lyrics about seduction in, where else, Mom’s bedroom, it’s nearly impossible not to be entertained (or sing along).
The Giants have proved that pop doesn’t necessarily have to be cheesy and that music doesn’t always have to have a larger, overarching message to be considered great or enjoyable. So, as summer winds down and you want that perfect album to pop in whenever, whether you’re bored at work or cruising down the highway or just relaxing, Under The Influence of Giants is it.