Within the first 20 seconds of New Kingdom, GIVERS’ sophomore album, and first in 4 years, they progress from a blossoming anthem-synth blueprint to a budding comedown scaffolded by a petite drum-machine. They didn’t want to overwhelm anybody — a task they excel at, for better or worse.
GIVERS are a bit of a Meandering Marvin: they endeavor to do a lot, but it’s not always done in the most successful way. “Remember” sounds like something suburban kids would bop around to in a Chapelle’s Show skit, but the Fisher Price organ of the intro doesn’t synergize with the echoing drum fills and somber synths of the chorus, although both aesthetics are independently intriguing. The bridge’s foggy distortion and pleading vocals are then interrupted by the same tacky (but enjoyable) aesthetic, awkwardly fusing what’s two patently separate song ideas.
Their quirks often make GIVERS’ tracks more interesting, however. The noticeably extended synths in “Growls” shift tonalities in a way that separates GIVERS from their pop purist contemporaries. The subverted synth solo during the crashing symbols of “Blinking” and its final chorus add a trinket of charm to New Kingdom. Even the guitar’s delayed chord descension tastefully sprinkled in “Record High, Record Low” reminds us that it’s a GIVERS album. GIVERS never futility Vice Grips a single sonic element; their optimal sound can be quite evasive.
As the female half of GIVERS’ male/female vocal duo (Taylor Guarisco being the male half), Tiffany Lamson provides the wandering band with their most uniquely satisfying element. Guarisco’s vocals feel more prominently featured, but that’s likely because Lamson’s soulful voice is solid enough to warrant being the foundation upon which New Kingdom is constructed. Her vocal personality makes “Bermuda” and the illusorily industrial “Mother of Love” two of New Kingdom’s premiere tracks.
When The Weeknd released “Can’t Feel My Face,” the collective masses thought “So I guess he can do this now.” He essentially solidified his versatility as an artist and his longevity through commercial appeal. GIVERS frequently fringe on “Can’t Feel My Face” songs – songs that successfully stick due to their approachability – but their often endearing idiosyncraticies hedge them just outside of that lucrative top-200 inner-circle.
Recommended If You Like: Local Natives, a not deeply saddened Florence and the Machine, Electric Guest
Recommended Tracks: Bermuda (Track 02), Mother of Love (Track 05), Record High, Record Low (Track 08)