Givensix Drops “Killer” New Album ‘Harvest’
Dirt Fest 2011 performers Givensix have just released their new album 'Harvest' after almost two years of working on the project. The Flint alt-rockers bring a fresh sound to the table that feels like having a meal with Patrick Bateman of 'American Psycho' while Tool, Rage Against the Machine, and Primus jam the dinner music. If you're confused by that loaded statement, this is a good thing. Check out my full review of the new Givensix record 'Harvest'.
There comes a time in a band's career that you can see (and hear) that things are about to start happening for them, 'Harvest' is that moment for Givensix. Usually this happens when a band finds their sound; Alice in Chains did it with 'Dirt', Nirvana on 'Nevermind'. It feels like Givensix is at that same point in their evolution. While their music definitely draws from many influences, it's done so in a way that is both original and makes it completely their own.
The disc opens with 'It'll Do', a psycho-rock dance track in which singer Jamie Taylor's vocal abilities are showcased atop a Primus-tinged backbeat. I'm usually the guy who can say "that dude's voice sounds kind of like (name here)" and be dead on, I've even ruined bands for my friends by telling them who else a singer sounds like. I can't do that here because, unlike most singers today, Jamie has his own sound. There may be times he echoes of others, but only in terms of delivery as oppose to tone.
'Burn' brings us a bit further into the darkness, where every element including the subtle violin swipes, over-driven main riff, and falsetto vocals build to one of the best choruses on the record.
The following track, 'Underneath Your Bed', plays like a ride-along with a serial killer. This is one of the best tracks on 'Harvest' and features some of the creepiest lyrics I've ever heard. The carnival bass line paired with ambient guitar squeals bleeds perfectly in to the pre-chorus riff, which adds the perfect amount of heavy before the multi-layered melody of the chorus where Taylor warns his potential victims "keep your lights on at night". You got it.
'Genocide' is a call to action for fans that is musically reminiscent of early Rage Against the Machine. This one gives you the sense that the band understands that compromises will be made once they land a record deal: "Let's create a masterpiece, before someone controls all of this" is a line that always makes me chuckle. This track, while great on record, is probably explosive when paired with a live audience.
The rest of the album keeps the quality bar (and energy level) high-- from the Tool-esque opening riff of 'I'd Suffer Your Silence' to the heavy bass driven 'Little Pig (Exposed)'. 'Barrow Wight' opens with a polka-festival of sound that throws itself into the album's most melodic and heartfelt chorus. The fuzz heavy rocker 'Freak It Out' sets up the final three tracks which begin with the madman's checklist 'These Are A Few Of My Deadliest Deeds'-- this is where drummer Eric Cole really get to shine (his drumming is especially impressive from '...Deeds' on).
For the disc's 10th track, Givensix cleverly saved the best song 'Victim'. Easily this is the most complex and layered song the band tackles on 'Harvest', but they nail every subtle dynamic perfectly. Jamie's decision to fill the 'dead spots' with labored breathing is something that often comes off as cheesy in the wrong context, but works to great effect here.
Where most would throw their balls out rocker as the bookend to a collection of songs this heavy-- 'Harvest' wraps with the vibrato drenched chords of the band's most ballad-esque track, the appropriately named 'Credits'. The ironic chorus almost seems to prompt the end of the record, which gives off an infinite feel upon the slow fade out. "Roll Credits, Roll" indeed.
'Harvest' is easily one of my favorite albums of the year, and one of the most surprising as well. You don't expect an album from a, for lack of a better term, local band to be this well produced.
The guys will be performing at Dirt Fest 2011 (August 13th, Birch Run Expo Center get tickets here), for all Givensix's upcoming gigs link up with their Facebook page. You can pick up 'Harvest' at any of their shows as well as at Wyatt Earp Records, High Octane in the Genessee Valley Mall, CDbaby.com, Amazon.com, and it should be available on iTunes within the next week.
Final Verdict: Givensix brings a much needed breath of fresh air to the rock scene with 'Harvest', we need as many non-cookie cutter bands with great singers as possible. A-