Tipped by Morrissey, this Orange County quintet could be the next Coldplay.
Andy Fyfe 2011-08-16
There’s an unwritten but often-observed indie law that states the more praise Morrissey lavishes on a band then the inverse success will follow. It has happened numerous times down the decades, ever since people started claiming this or that act to be ‘the new Smiths’, in fact (Bradford, Raymonde, Gene…). But the contrary old tart for once appears to be on to something with Young the Giant, the Orange County indie-rock five-piece of whom he recently claimed he would be "kneeling for years in gratitude" for.
Since changing their name from the rather dull The Jakes in 2009, Young the Giant have been on an upward curve. Tour supports with Marina and the Diamonds and The Futureheads followed favourable (if mistaken) comparisons to Kings of Leon and My Morning Jacket, and they’ve had a top five hit on the Billboard Alternative Chart with early single My Body.
Nearly a year after its US release, their self-titled debut album finally appears in the UK and it’s… a little baffling, really. Much is made of the band’s multicultural European/Middle East/French-Canadian backgrounds, but in truth Young the Giant sound more like a big guitar rock band than that would suggest. Coldplay is the obvious touchstone for many of the better tracks (Cough Syrup, Apartment, I Got, St Walker, Islands), but not even those critics who brand Chris Martin a "bedwetter" would lay the unfortunate generic blandness of Your Side and Garands at his sheet-soiled bedside.
At their best, however, Young the Giant evoke a band from much further back in Morrissey’s anointed list: James. Closing track Guns Out is as anthemically danceable as Tim Booth’s Sit Down or She’s a Star, while the explosive My Body and more sensitive 12 Fingers share the same knack for shoehorning U2-sized themes into indie guitar tunes.
Too patchy to warrant genuflection just yet, thanks should nevertheless be given for the exquisite moments that Young the Giant serve here. Given the opportunity to continue on the curve they’re currently ascending, however, we may yet all be bending a knee alongside Morrissey.