GIVERS are busy expanding the lexicon of pop.
The Louisiana group enjoy drafting excursions into the left field, exploring fresh influences and opening up new avenues.
But they're still, inherently, a pop outfit. Upcoming album 'New Kingdom' underlines this - out on Friday (April 8th) it's a record that continually twists and beguiles.
Laced with unexpected colour and some wonderfully off kilter moments, 'New Kingdom' is also direct, melodic and totally accessible.
Clash invited GIVERS to break down their new album.
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A total happy accident. While recording vocals one day, I ended up hitting the wrong command in Protools and it started playback of the instrumental at half-speed. What we heard was this slow, haunting passage of music that we knew we had to do something with. It felt like we had opened this secret door - the door to the New Kingdom so to speak.
'Bermuda' feels like our most alien song off the record. What started off as a free form jam evolved quickly into a verse for verse hip hop production. Ended up feeling as if Quincy Jones jumped into the mothership with George Clinton and Kendrick Lamar, flew to some uncharted jungle planet, wrote a song and sold it to us - basically. We focused more on the synth world and 808 samples and less on the guitar parts, and allowed it to go to this strange, yet familiar place.
This is our own hybridization of Keith Frank, Chuck Berry, and Michael Jackson influence—the masters of zydeco, rock’n’roll, and pop. This song is actually the very first song I made a demo of via Garage Band years ago when I first got a laptop. Both musically and lyrically the song explores the idea of recalling past lives and experiences whilst reaching to create a new one here and now.
“My home, miles open—I’ll get you on the way / and my hope, it ain't hopin—it’s a sure thang.” An upbeat feel good jam that found it’s roots in a laid-back zydeco groove and eventually branched out into Steely Dan territory once guitarmonies found their way into track.
Mother Of Love
The “Phoenix Rising” song of the album. From it’s initial demo it had something truly hypnotic about it. Tiffany channeled something very serious and empowering on this track. It stands out to me as an anthem for women, and the eons of hardship they’ve faced.
This was a song that Josh brought to the circle early on in the songwriting phase. Most of the sounds throughout the track came from him warping these lo-fi samples of his girlfriend growling into his laptop microphone (for the bass line)—as well as chopping and tweaking the sound of her tapping a wooden flute against the neck of a guitar (for some of the melodic information). It ended up coming out as this futuristic, tropicália meets Bollywood experience.
This is our version of an obscured arty disco song. It’s also one of the more band-oriented songs on the record in the sense that most of the parts came together all at once rather than layer by layer. There is a theme that we explored in this song as well as throughout the album, which is basically the blending of something old and direct with something new and somewhat obscured.
Record High, Record Low
This songs stands out as the most ‘from the gut’ tracks of the record. A very straight forward arrangement and sentiment that seems to gallop across the open plain until we hit the chorus, where we then experience a loss of gravity and begin to float through space for a moment. This continuously song walks the line between cowboys and aliens.
While making Sleeper Hold, there were always these two gapping holes in the track that we knew we would fill with some sort of cinematic spoken word. We knew early on that Dr. John’s voice and swagger would be the only acceptable route to take. We were fortunate that our friend and co-producer Korey Richey had worked with Dr. John aka ’Mac’ a few times before and was able to line things up for us. It ended up being the perfect fit for a dark, funky, neon jungle-lit song about the corrupt ways of the world.
Shaky But True
What started off as a jam between myself and Tiffany on bass, drums, and vocals - eventually evolved into this trippy-folk/R&B jam. One of my favorite parts of the record in the TLC-inspired breakdown bridge where Tif takes us to church.
This track was our attempt to take all the ingredients that we love from club music and fuse it with something that felt more natural to us. What came out was this danceable, gritty, and hypnotizing take on music you might hear either at a rave or an ayahuasca ceremony.
From the start of 'Layback' you can feel the avant-disco vibes in full effect. The entire album plays with the idea of taking something familiar and hybridizing it with something alien and new—this song is no exception from that. In this track you can feel the sway between the call of the dance floor as well as the lure of the mosh pit. When we arrive to the chorus you get the sense that two worlds have collided and are dancing with each other for the first time.
In this song we ventured to a few new dimensions. Both musically and emotionally we went to places that we hadn’t been before as a band. Exploring the rhythmic nature of an R&B song while diving into the depth and emotion of a love song. Tif’s vocal shines throughout while the string arrangements lift us up higher and higher each chorus. A standout moment in the production of this song happened while we were working on lyrics at Dockside Studios. We were sitting along the river as this huge lightning storm slowly crept towards us - not only inspiring the tone, but also a lyrical connection within the song.
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'New Kingdom' will be released on April 8th.