Artist spotlight: Under the Influence of Giants

In the Clouds / Mama’s Room

Once again, I rue the day I composed a top songs of 2006 list because even days before 2007 sets in, I am already discovering great music I missed out on for the year. If I went back to revise my list, you can bet I’d put Under The Influence of Giants on there. No longer just an indie group, they have taken their genre to another level with the 2006 release of their second LP, a self-titled work of alternative dance wonder.

The first time I heard “In the Clouds,” I didn’t even know how to react. Some of the greatest songs I cherish for years aren’t usually insta-hits with me. Some take a few extra listens or even a complete intermission while my tastes develop and I go back and think, My, how could I not have simply loved this before? But probably from the second I put this song on, it grabbed me. “In the Clouds” wastes no time on a fancy introduction or build-up that comprises most of Bloc Party’s discography. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Bloc Party (”Pioneers” does the build-up thing and it’s simply a brilliant track), but sometimes you’re in a mood where you just want things to be sped up a bit more quickly. The chorus, the echoes; it’s so catchy it’s almost ridiculous. Not sure how much this will account for its relevance in the long run, but I refuse to be stressin’ over absurdities like that at the moment.

Some of their other songs are a bit more subdued. “Mama’s Room” still has an upbeat feel, but it’s not something you would get up and bust a groove to instantly. “Stay lllogical” has a similar moody atmosphere, but is equally lovely. The synths are subtle; we’re not talking The Knife here, not by any means. The Scissor Sisters comparisons do it some justice, but altogether, it’s the uniqueness of this band that I enjoy the most.

So yeah, once I’m again, I’m the last one to hear an absolutely wonderful release from the year. Do I wish I could revise my 2006 list? Certainly. Just now I’m hearing the releases from Simian Mobile Disco and Midnight Juggernauts (“Tombstone” blew the roof of my house two days ago), but there’s not much I can do at this point but continue to share the love, or in this case, the absolute brilliance of a band gone crazy good.

Official Site
Buy Under the Influence of Giants