Young the Giant Shines on ‘Home of the Strange’
Alternative band Young the Giant delivers a superb, eclectic effort with their third studio album, Home of the Strange.
Alternative band Young the Giant returns with its third studio album, Home of the Strange. Perhaps “third time’s charm” exceptionally characterizes Home of the Strange, an eclectic and entertaining album by all means. Simply stated, there’s not a bad song on the album. Young the Giant – led by frontman Sameer Gadhia – outdo themselves.
Home of the Strange
Standout “Amerika” kicks off Home of the Strange cleverly and thoughtfully. It addresses attaining the American Dream, highlighting the cons in the process.
“So jealous / felt that rich kid pain what it is to be alone.”
Additionally, the spirited opener references a relationship gone sour:
“I was sad when you said that you never really wanted some / were you looking for someone? / As I watched you go / I’m mad because I don’t know what you used me for.”
“Something to Believe In” keeps the momentum strong, once more embracing depth. Interestingly, it’s a religiously skeptical record. Arguably more agnostic than atheistic, clearly Gadhia “has his doubts.” Despite his unbeliever status, Gadhia sings with incredible passion.
“I’ll give you something to believe in / burn up a basement full of demons / realize you’re a slave to your mind, break free / now give me something to believe in.”
The groovy, soulfully-driven “Elsewhere” dabbles in love, whether mature or not. Gadhia masterfully showcases full-voice and falsetto. “Mr. Know-It-All” accounts for each and every detail, evidenced by the synthesized harpsichord following lyric, “Jill liked art / she listened to Mozart…” Not necessarily the crème de la crème, “Mr. Know-It-All” continues to find the band “flexing.”
The rocking “Jungle Youth” IS the crème de la crème – a tour de force times ten! The record kicks off with jungle sound effects. Featuring a muscular groove, absolutely filthy guitars, and a clever harmonic progression, “Jungle Youth” is nothing short of epic – awesomeness epitomized.
“I look up / I look down / everybody’s bathing in Holy water / ain’t enough going around / raise their cups / wear their crowns / you’re sitting on a gold stained altar / feel the jungle youth sound”
“Titus Was Born” is a fine evolutionary track. Restrained and subtle initially, eventually it grows in scope and production. It begins as the polar opposite of “Jungle Youth.” One of the pros of “Titus” is how poetic it is. Gadhia’s vocals are crystal clear and radiant.
“Repeat” rolls on respectably while “Silvertongue” is simply infectious – and lustful. Danceable and characterized by retro cues, “Silvertongue” stands out the first time you hear it. The bass line is epic.
“Oh, girl, I’ve got that silver tongue / got, got that silver, silver tongue / drives you into delirium / got, got that silver, got that silver tongue.”
The radiant “Art Exhibit” is alluring as an art exhibit – not to be redundant. Gadhia once more sings about love lost, contrasting the lustier “Silvertongue.” Penultimate record “Nothing’s Over” maintains a reflective sentiment, as Gadhia depicts the consistent cycle of life and how “seasons never change.” Ultimately, accepting that the relationship is done, he’s fretful.
“It’s over, nothing’s over / I’ll grow up when I’m older / God only knows what I would do to you”
“Home of the Strange” concludes as a play on a patriotic song, though it’s not patriotic in the least. As opposed to being “home of the brave,” it’s “home of the strange.”
“Land of the free, home of the strange / from shining sea to mountains grey, hey hey / from amber waves of fame, I wlll not change / can’t put me in my grave, in my grave”
All in all, Home of the Strange is exceptionally conceived – an alluring listening experience. Home of the Strange touches upon familiar topics (namely love), but also transcends beyond the expected. Musically, the eclecticism is as important as the lyrics, themes, and vocal performances. Among the best of 2016.
Gems: “Amerika,” “Something to Believe In,” “Jungle Youth,” “Titus Was Born” & “Silvertongue”