But because the album does a half-decent job of catching that lightning in a bottle, it is a glorious blast of summery goodness.
I won’t gush over Givers’ live show; I did that once already. They are the most enthusiastic band I’ve ever seen, and some of that transfers over to the 10 songs that comprise the 51-minute (!) “In Light.” The group is basically a calypso outfit (steel drums! ridiculous happiness!) that ran into an indie-pop band at 70 mph; many of the disc’s danceable elements come from the fact that the tempo is rarely ever slowed. OK, “Ceiling of Plankton” has a dance-rock drum beat and synth hooks. But there are flutes! Shakers! Sleigh bells! Absolutely acrobatic bass lines!
Lead single “Up Up Up” also includes flutes, synths and crazy bass lines. There are also claps, female vocals, clicking percussion and single-note runs on the guitar. When the chorus comes in, I’m almost compelled to sing along. It’s a party in a song.
What makes Givers even more charming is that they are almost completely guileless. There is nothing sinister, creepy or even remotely dark about it: “In Light” is almost perfectly named on that front. This is some of the most complex and engaging music that’s ever been written specifically to make people smile and chill out.
“Meantime” has an electrifying chorus and some ’50s pop vibes; “Saw You First” is a feat of enthusiastic indie rock that nearly made me pass out from euphoria, dehydration and room heat at SXSW. You will get shivers.
I can’t say enough about Givers’ “In Light.” It doesn’t come with chocolate, gummy bears or confetti poppers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if its future reissues did. The group is all about creating happiness, and they accomplish their goal without being simple or boring. Here’s to that! —Stephen Carradini