I get far too over excited when I get emails from 'small bands in Finland' asking us to take a listen to their new album. This is all the fault of that band from Turku, the Stillwalkers who's out of the blue email last summer turned out to the best thing we'd heard for so long, with hours of listening pleasure and culminating in our Nordic Music Review Album of the Year award. So surely nothing could ever match the Stillwalkers in terms of a new Indie Rock Band with guitars and melodies, simply playing music with an apparent pure and genuine desire to just make a great noise? Well I'm delighted to introduce you to Giant Giant - that's exactly what they do, and their self titled debut album is blisteringly good. They have big guitars, melodies and a selection of 10 songs which consistently hits the mark.
Of course I try not to do comparisons with other bands, and Giant Giant are different to the Stillwalkers in many ways. As a 3 piece band there is a rawness here, a heavier reliance on big guitars and an intensity that drives the music forward, rather than on the melodies themselves. The music is heavily influenced by bands across the 80s and 90s, a real mixture I suspect, yet the vocals are completely understated, very similar to, if you've ever come across them, the excellent British band Hope of the States. At times those vocals are so understated that they almost seem to get lost under the weight of guitars, but that I think is by design, and it gives it real individuality, and a sense of style too.
On to the tracks themselves, well 'Dust' is a great opener, a big guitar riff accompanied by thoughtful melodic vocal, and this immediately feels like intelligently written music that will take a while to be appreciated. 'Champagne' introduces weaving keyboards, a well constructed song with another killer chorus. By the time we get to 'Summer in the Shade' and 'Almost Right' those guitars become almost relentless, and the intensity in the latter track reminds me a little even of Bob Mould - although maybe I shouldn't throw around that kind of praise too loosely....
Half way through the album and we're offered 'Always Better', possibly the weakest track and for a moment I start to get concerned that this might turn into slightly two dimensional song writing and the album might tail off in quality. But I needn't have feared, 'I Shot the Porcupine' is a really different sounding song, based around the vocal tunes with a huge saxophone solo, whilst i love the experimental instrumental section at the end of 'Cover Song' - more of that please. And in 'All you need is more' and ' I didn't know' we're left with 2 stunningly good tracks, with great tunes, which seem to hit the perfect balance of vocals, guitars and subtle keyboards, they're the highlights of the album for me.
Ok so there may be some minor imperfections here, but does that matter? This album has personality, passion, great guitars and enough tunes to take you through the rest of the dark winter evenings. The tracks are well written, complex and you will appreciate the subtleties the more you listen - such as the excellent bass line and final piano note in 'Skylab', and changing time signatures in 'All you need is more' that even Cardiacs would be proud of. Giant Giant may be a 'small band from Helsinki, but they have a big heart, massive talent and they make a darn great noise. Go find their album and enjoy.
Nordic Music Review 9/10
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