Givers, “New Kingdom”
Four years removed from a well-received debut album, Givers disappointingly return with more of the same—a slightly more polished and structured sophomore effort, just as (if not more) full of eclectic influences, but missing a lot of the expressive quality that came with the rougher edges. New Kingdom is darker in tone but tries to bounces confidently along in rhythm, vacillating between catchier tracks like “Sure Thang” or “Record High, Record Low” and steadier songs. “Remember” moves restlessly and relentlessly along, not pausing for any particularly striking moment. This sonic anxiety is part of what gives other tracks more power—particularly “Shaky but True,” which changes pace to great effect without becoming distracting. Givers seem content to follow their ears wherever they’d like to wander, but this may keep them from creating an album composed of something more commercially—and artistically—successful.