Top 5 Must-See Phoenix Shows This Week

Page 5 of 5

Young the Giant - Wednesday, February 12 - Comerica Theatre

When you listen to Mind Over Matter, the new album from Young the Giant, it is impossible not to notice the different energy coursing through the band's collective vein. With his throaty cries, frontman Sameer Gadhia sounds as if he's expelling personal demons, and Mind undeniably is more propulsive than the band's 2010 breakthrough self-titled album. As guitarist Eric Cannata notes, much can be attributed to a watershed moment Young the Giant had early in the recording process, when writer's block and the pressure of trying to deliver a solid sophomore release weighed heavily on the band's shoulders.

"We felt some pressure to reconnect with these fans we'd made after touring so long on the first album, and we got to a point where we had maybe a month or two of writer's block," Cannata says. "I think, one day, we just woke up and decided we were going to try something different and try to step outside our comfort zones and experiment with sounds. We wrote the title track, and from that point on, we felt that we were limitless in what we could do with our sound."

The comparatively down-tempo rock strains of the band's debut are largely absent on Mind. The jangly rock of "Anagram" will have you dancing in circles in no time, "Daydreamer" is a soaring pop rock track that sounds like a distant cousin of Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle," and the driving rock 'n' roll of "In My Hope" is an unstoppable force. There are moments when the band slows things down to give the listener time to breathe ("Firelight"), but the musical emphasis is one of pushing forward rather than becoming stagnant. -- Brian Palmer

Read more about how Young the Giant went uptempo after a bout of writer's block

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.