Artist: This Is The Giant
Title: Speak Every Word (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Come and Live
Release Date: 5/20/14
Reviewer: Ty DeLong
- Open Air
- Will You Find Me In The Night?
- Face Of Gold
- Body Of Glass
- The Edge Of The Sky
- Can I Find You In The Dark?
Being the fan of instrumental music that I am, I seldom pass up a chance to check out a new band. The likelihood is even higher when I know the band is comprised of believers who draw their inspiration from the Spirit and seek to point to greater truths through their art. Enter This Is The Giant, one of the latest acts on Come and Live.
The band describes themselves as instrumental and ambient, but also lists influences such as Caspian and This Will Destroy You, which occasionally have a bit of edge. I can certainly see shades of those artists, but most of the album does lean toward the ambient end of the spectrum. With the deluxe edition weighing in at fourteen tracks and over an hour, there is a lot of music to be accounted for.
Most tracks rely on a core of ambient guitar with varying degrees of effects. Natural-sounding drums are also a common feature with keys, synth, and electronics making occasional appearances in the predominately slow-to-mid-tempo offerings. Melody is present, but not in the form of hooks intended to get stuck in the listener’s head. Each song is beautiful in its own right, but personally I didn’t have a ton of moments that grabbed my attention. This may be by design. While some artists rely heavily on extreme dynamics or memorable riffs to suck the listener in, This Is The Giant operates much more subtly. The songs are not completely flat and lifeless by any means, but seldom do they employ the “wall of sound” approach often found in post-rock. Still “Levity” exhibits a great gradual build, and drums punch into a heavier section midway through “The Edge Of The Sky” proving that the band is more than capable of employing dynamics.
Also worth noting, the overall timbre of most songs is reflective without being dark and moody. Honestly, I usually expect albums of this type to feel kind of sad or heavy (particularly with the artwork on this one), but Speak Every Word almost never approaches that edge. As the band states on their Facebook, “In the silence of any day or the doubts of any night, This is the Giant is a way to communicate with God without any tongue or language, just pure emotion.” Indeed, I could see this music being used at many reflective prayer gatherings or as a backdrop to personal devotions or journaling. As far as creating a space to seek and worship, Speak Every Word executes well. Still, those wanting to focus on and dissect the music may not find it quite as appealing, good as it is.
I always try to find deeper meanings either through the titles or other subtle touches when lyrics aren’t present. While some of the song titles do evoke thought and reflection in their own right, I couldn’t pull together an over-arching theme (which is not to say it isn’t there). Other clues, however, give insight to the inspiration of some songs. “Everything/Everyone/Everywhere” begins and ends with samples of a child on the phone, presumably talking to his or her father, implying that the song was borne out of missing family while traveling. The title of “Longing” also matches the forlorn piano intro, as well. Beyond that, most meanings are left wide open to the interpretation of the listener.
Production-wise, I found it to be great for an independent effort. The band states upfront that these are “songs that were written on the road and recorded in a bedroom,” which makes the album that much more impressive. It’s not merely good sound quality, either. Guitar tones and effects are used well, and other touches such as light piano and vocal samples help to distinguish one track from another, a difficult task across such a plethora of songs. To those who aren’t fans of the genre, I’m sure the tracks would blend together, as they did for me at times. This would be one of the few drawbacks to the album, in my opinion. While good quality, I didn’t sense anything that quite set it apart from many of the other ambient or post-rock bands.
Overall: Speak Every Word is a good instrumental album worth at least a couple of listens from any post-rock fan. The dynamic shifts may not be quite as dramatic as others in the genre, but beautiful music shines through in each track. Particularly for “name your own price,” there is no reason not to add it to your collection.
RIYL: Hammock, This Will Destroy You, The Sleep Design
Speak Every Word (Deluxe Edition) is available through Come and Live