While Florida’s Among Giants started out as a band that seldomly used electric instruments (on earlier works, there was sometimes a sense that the electric guitars were only there to add to the acoustic foundations of the songs), each new release of theirs has moved further away from that, with more and more plugged in elements. The band’s newest EP, Back and Forth, is no exception to the rule and continues that trend. There is nary an acoustic guitar to be heard in these four songs: this is a collection of moody pop punk songs full of speedy guitars and pounding drums.
Vocalist Greg Hughes has a very deep voice, almost as if he’s talking to the listener rather than singing, a la The Hold Steady, but still keeping a rhythm to the words in a way that keeps the feel of a traditional song (and on the occasion when he does start singing, his voice takes on a rasp that is best described as recalling Jawbreaker). As is common with plenty of young bands these days, Among Giants use their lyrics to express their uncertainty of the future and a general feeling of cynicism that comes with growing up. “Art School” handles this theme the best, detailing how quickly that feeling of realizing that you don’t know jack-shit about life can set in: “And at 20 years old I thought I had things figured out. Now at 21, I laugh at my old self”.
An EP can be judged in a lot of ways. It can keep fans happy in between albums, or it can act as a solid introduction to newcomers. It can provide a hint as to what coming material will sound like, or it can act as a standalone release that gets the same kind of fan recognition as full lengths do. Back and Forth accomplishes a lot of these things: it offers just enough to tide old listeners over until their next full length, while also leaving plenty of space for new fans to want more. And if these four songs are any indication, the band’s next LP will please both camps.
3.5 / 5
RIYL: The Hold Steady, Jawbreaker, Aspiga
Add Among Giants to My Radar