Giants – Old Stories
Record Label: Cavity Records
Release Date: August 26, 2008
If I’m writing about an instrumental band it can only mean one thing: I’m going to compare said band to This Will Destroy You or Explosions in the Sky. I just don’t know any better! I’m one dimensional and securely planted on the hype train, oh well. However, Giants deserve this treatment because of their rising melodies, piano intonations and wait-for-it climaxes. Yes, finale “At Last, Ashore” has a high-pitched riff that could have easily fit within All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone’s lonely walls. Yes, opener “While The Ages Steal” could very well be a long lost song from This Will Destroy You (or more specifically, it might be an electronic-less outtake from when they were writing “The Mighty Rio Grande”). But whatever, those songs are great and so are the ones filling up Old Stories. A second rate TWDY or Unwed Sailor song is still a damn good thing. (And just to be clear, I don’t believe these songs are second rate in any way, shape or form. I just know how you all can get.) This is post-rock at its most dramatic and its least snobby.
Whereas I found They, The Undeserving a bit high on the musical difficulty scale, Old Stories revels in its inherent accessibility. Song lengths, in true Giants fashion, never become too tedious and, with the exception of “Fisherman’s Prayer,” we are never forced to sit and wait for a nonexistent resolve. “Vessels” wastes no time elevating itself with melodious guitar plucking and a cymbal/tom assault. So as not to blow their load too soon, the band rests with reverberating guitars until the (almost) cliché entrance of ghastly, ringing guitars bring us back into the commotion. “O’ Tide” is characterized by lightly accentuated snare taps until the whole song explodes into a driving mess of guitar notes 10-stories high. This slow moving track will creep across your mind. Giants never rush their art past the listener, and these near-repetitions only aide our reception of the overwhelmingly complex arrangements.
“Sleeping False Idol” lays on a grungy outer layer to begin, which is then morphed into technical guitars and a head-bobbing drumbeat. The climax seems imminent throughout, and it is in these songs that we expect the most. I’ll let you decide if Giants succeed. (What?? Tell me what I like!!) “At Last, Ashore,” as I mentioned previously, has a decidedly EITS vibe, which makes it quite an exceptional closing track. If all the other songs are pre-teens, this song is their cool older brother wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a backpack full of Chaucer. He’ll shut you up with his brilliance and buy you an ice cold Pabst afterwards. The song may lack a mind-numbing climax, but that’s ok. It’s a road less traveled, if you will. Which I guess is a good (sorta ironic) way to end this since I’ve spent the whole review comparing and critiquing this record solely based on other records. Old Stories could have been created by sticking to the tried and true formula of records past, but this isn’t a complete rehash. Giants are comfortable in a skin all their own.
Recommended If You Like: Explosions in the Sky, Followed By Ghosts, rocky shores, This Will Destroy You, Unwed Sailor, screaming Argonauts
If I’m writing about an instrumental band it can only mean one thing: I’m going to compare said band to This Will Destroy You or Explosions in the Sky. I just don’t know any better! I’m one dimensional and securely planted on the hype train, oh well.