“Hipsters.” Ugh. I loathe the hipster, and the flippant attitude towards anything they didn’t discover early on. I know that if I walked into certain bars in Denver, it will be wall-to-wall packed with ’em. I overhear conversations about music and what band that you’ve never heard of is “so awesome” because they “don’t play their instruments in a regular way” or because it’s only a drummer and a slide-whistle and -get this – “the drummer’s a chick!”
Seriously, it makes me want to tear the patches right off of your cardigan and yell at full volume and close range to your ironically over-sized bespectacled faces, “I HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT MORE MUSIC THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW!”
This being said, I’m gonna go full-bore hipster and brag that I was into California’s Of Us Giants before I was asked to review their upcoming 4th album, entitled Nova Scotia.
There are bands that challenge me as a writer to articulate what they sound like and why they are noteworthy. Of Us Giants, however, challenges me to try not to sing their praises too loudly, as they seem to capture some distinct elements from bands I have loved, while serving it up in a style unique to them.
Nova Scotia is something of a departure from previous releases Stitch or even the B-sides collection, which were both primarily acoustic with a “coffee shop” kind of feel to it. This release, however, sees the fully fleshed out band laying down a sound that blurs the lines between melodic metal, pop-punk, and early emo. As a massive fan of bands like early Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, The Early November, The Exit, The Starting Line and even British Sea Power, Nova Scotia really tickles that part of my brain that misses well-written, soulful, melodic lyrics over angry and frantic music.
Natural and punchy, but without being predictable, Of Us Giants has put forth a collection that excites me as a musician, as a fan, and as someone who holds steadfast to the core of Rock ‘n’ Roll music.
Some highlights include the re-worked track “Stone Hands,” which had previously been included on Stitch, but fits perfectly to what this album is propelling this band towards. Haunting and intense, it is a song that, like this band, will not be ignored.
“Sycamore Tomb” is the second track on this collection, and it kicked down the doors and grabbed me by the shirt when I first played it. In particular, the vocal performance by Dustin Andrews is absolutely top notch. Harmonies provided by Jonathan Jennings tie it up nicely and leave this song rambling through my head for hours afterward.
Another favorite for me is “All Of My Daughters,” a beautiful song that builds to an incredible climax. This song has slight overtones of what made a lot of early 2000’s music awesome, but with some incredible vocal and guitar interludes that make this seem familiar but not dated.
Of Us Giants’ Nova Scotia is poised to be in my heavy rotation playlist for some time to come, and I hope I get the chance to check them out live at some point. The real brilliance of this album is that it works so incredibly well as a collection, as opposed to having a few killer songs and then filler tracks. Check them out, let us know your thoughts – and keep your eye on these guys; they are going to be filling up theaters sooner than later.
Somewhere between Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco there is about to be an explosion. I cannot confirm if either will be ok; but frankly, I don’t care. The ensuing shockwave is, without a doubt, going to knock the douchebaggery out of followers of the aforementioned bands and cultivate a following of less tight pants, less bad haircuts and no punctuation in their name.
Remember the brilliance of Stroke 9’s “Little Black Backpack?” Dispute it if you want, but that song was catchy rock brilliance. Now take that song’s glory, spread it out over eleven tracks and toss in one of the most talented voices to ever come out of a television reality show and you’ve got yourself your own little black backpack of awesomeness.
Of Us Giants have finely tuned a full length debut album in Nova Scotia that is not only unbelievably domineering on the audiophile in you, it is a statement that even Jack The Giant Killer would have issue taking down.
Most impressively is the wall of sound created from a trio. Sam Battista (Drums), Dustin Andrews (Vocals and Guitar) and Jonathan Jennings (Vocals and Bass) from Turlock, California are a tidal wave of swagger chiseled rock that hypnotizes you like the sirens of legend; calling on you to succumb to their songs and one which you will willingly reach out your arms, close your eyes, tilt your head back and allow to consume you. With a rock sound that isn’t always heavy fisted or strictly ballad, they achieve a balance that, for a debut album is astounding. From the passionate pleas of “Dying” to the downplayed simplicity of “Stone Hands” to the anthem “Iron Boat,” which is one of two tracks featuring Lindsey Pavao, the draw of Nova Scotia is incredibly difficult to fight. Do yourself a favor and don’t resist.
The path of rock, unsurprisingly, goes through California. Take the list that already includes decoded and add Of Us Giants. It isn’t pop, it isn’t metal, it is giant. And these eleven tracks clinch their fist and lay into the posers with game changing precision.