Young The Giant - Home Of The Strange

If you're looking for a classic indie experience, Young The Giant has you covered. Their newest record Home Of The Strange is the band's third full-length effort, and sees them continuing to polish their sound into a more refined, indie rock specialty.

The good thing about this album is that there isn't a low point of it. There are periods where things mellow out and aren't as interesting, but there's no definitively bad part of the record. It has lots of groove within, found within signature tracks like 'Something To Believe In' - which has something untangibly funky going on with the chorus (which may either be the guitar or the backing vocals; I can't tell) on top of an almost hip-hop beat - and the energetic 'Silvertongue'. If nothing else, this album is definitely fun. Lots of songs will just get you vibing and moving about, dancing around to them; see the fun guitar licks in 'Mr. Know-It-All' and the grooviness of 'Jungle Youth'. 'Jungle' is a big track, distorted guitars and effected vocals adding color to it before it explodes in a big indie rock flavor during its jam ending. The eponymous 'Home Of The Strange' takes the album out on a feel-good, energetic note. A big note to end on.

There's another, calmer side to this record. It starts off this way, the tragically relatable love song 'Amerika' calmly beginning the record as it builds to a sweet ending. 'Elsewhere' is a quieter yet still funky song, sounding like something like Arctic Monkeys meets David Bowie (who is coincidentally namedropped in the following track). It's a nostalgic song, and the ending is almost chilling with how reflective the vocals are delivered by Sameer Gadhia. It's written in a very introspective way that feels very familiar. The lyrics on this album are often times simple in the best of ways: see the narrative in 'Amerika', the Greek references of 'Titus Was Born', and the silliness of 'Mr. Know-It-All'. 'Repeat' builds really nicely from its acoustic beginning to its creamy ending. Young The Giant channels their Sufjan Stevens influences in 'Art Exhibit', albeit with a more rock demeanor by the end of the track.

Indie rock never sounded so groovy. Young The Giant honed their indie sound and injected funk and soul into it, providing for a fun listen. Home Of The Strange is a great listen; by no means a masterpiece, but a great record all the same.

Favorite Tracks: Jungle Youth, Something To Believe In, Home Of The Strange

Least Favorite Tracks: Repeat, Nothing's Over

Rating: 70 / 100

The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You've Come To Expect

The Last Shadow Puppets triumphantly returned this year with a follow up to their 2008 debut, The Age Of Understatement with the infectiously groovy and old-fashioned Everything You’ve Come To Expect.

What separates this album from every other indie rock record out there this year is this album’s voice. The old-fashioned vibes resonating from the twangy guitars of ‘Used To Be My Girl’ and the brilliant orchestras adding so much color to songs like ‘Dracula Teeth’ say enough on their own. They ooze funk and groove, in increasing fashion to craft something cohesively strong yet undeniably lacking seriousness; it’s fun, but at the same time emotional. Beginning with the melodic and old-timey guitar of ‘Aviation’ with the giant brass ending, this album immediately has a sense of uniqueness. ‘Miracle Aligner’ follows up with the bluesy guitars, and sweet piano arpeggios to conclude it. You can just taste the citrus of the flanger in ‘Pattern’, too. As already mentioned, the string sections play a huge role in every track of the album. ‘Bad Habits’ even has strings that may sound similar to that of Björk! The orchestras also add a strong ominous vibe to many songs, including the title track ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’ and ‘She Does The Woods’. The album does, of course, also have sweeter moments: ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’ is very sincere and emotional, and ‘The Bourne Identity’ ending the album on a sweet note, being oddly nostalgic. Unrelated to the instrumentals is the deep meaning behind ‘The Dream Synopsis’, a tale about being rejected in a relationship. The theme of love is a recurring one throughout the record, sometimes sweet and at other times, sour. That only adds to the diversity of this record, though.

Unlike the title may suggest, this album is everything you wouldn’t expect. Symphonies on top of slow moving, chugging indie rock twang. It’s hard to put into words the personality the album has. It’s one you won’t want to miss out on, though. It’s everything you need for a good blast to the past.

Favorite Tracks: Aviation, Sweet Dreams, TN; The Dream Synopsis

Least Favorite Track: The Element Of Surprise

Rating: 8.5/10