A few weeks ago, a good pal of mine sent a text message telling me to check out a band he was digging on called Of Us Giants. He immediately said they reminded him of Manchester Orchestra.
Seeing how I respect all my friend’s music decisions, there was no doubt in my mind that his suggestion was going to at least be worth a listen, but for some reason I held off on doing so.
Recently, Jon Jennings, the bassist for Of Us Giants, emailed me suggesting I check out his band’s upcoming release Nova Scotia. I was immediately reminded of my pal’s suggestion and decided I needed to stop dragging my feet and take a listen. I am glad I did, because by the second song in, I was looking where to place a pre-order for the vinyl release.
Of Us Giants, hailing from California, is a three piece indie rock act that is certainly going to be getting some major attention in 2014 with their upcoming first full-length release titled Nova Scotia. I don’t say this just for the sake of saying it of course. I was very impressed with what I heard and can only hope that I am right.
At first listen, Of Us Giants carried a certain Brand New-like feel, well kind of. I am sure they have heard that a million times already. Truth is, they also had a great unique sound to them with the lead vocalist carrying a singing style that, to me, teeter-tottered between indie, emo and even some prog rock that I just found myself digging.
There really are all kinds of styles intermixed throughout when I listened to their release. I was reminded of Bright Eyes to Seahaven at times and I would be lying if I did not say I even heard a little Coheed & Cambria (sans the complex sci-fi story) as well as The Early November and Taking Back Sunday. Needless to say, there are plenty of likable qualities throughout this record that just kept me captivated.
“Sycamore Tomb” was a solid track that I feel has plenty of on-air playable qualities with lead vocalist Dustin Andrews giving it his all. Add additional harmonies by Jon Jennings, and suddenly the song was trapped in my mind for hours after my first listen.
One of the songs that threw me off a little was “Iron Boat” featuring Lindsey Pavao, a former Voice contestant whom I have never heard of before (that’s the competition with Cee-Lo and the spinning chairs that look like they belong in the Knight Rider car, right?).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the song completely or Ms. Pavao, but I just didn’t feel that the track fit in with the rest. Not sure whose decision it was to add this happy-sounding track in the midst of a more emo-heavy album, but it is what it is I suppose. I will admit that the second and third listens were better than my first taste of this track though.
“Take It Home” started off with a Nirvana sound that of got me all nostalgic for an Unplugged session. I loved this track from start to finish and that may have something to do with the guitar styles reaching back to 90s alt-rock styles only to change it up to a heavier riff.
In “Dying”, Andrews sang a convincing “all I really know is I’m sorry, I’m sorry” multiple times in this somber track that picked things up halfway through. I loved the spoken word at the end of this track, and honestly, feel that it made an even heavier lasting impression.
Staring off like an upbeat track, “All Of My Daughters” turned into more of a gloomy song about a father admitting his absence from the lives of his offspring. The song just kept building up and peaked just perfectly.
The album-titled track “Nova Scotia,” once again featuring Ms. Pavao singing along side Andrews, just did not do it for me. Pavao has a great voice and all, but as hard as I tried, I just didn’t care for this duet. Sadly, this was the last track on the album and I had no choice but to start over as I longed for more.
I would not be surprised if this band was taking over stages in the near future playing to sold out crowds. This is an impressive release that I can see all sorts of music lovers getting into. Don’t sit on Of Us Giants like I did, it is too good to pass up.