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Under The Influence Of Giants

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Album Review

Some things aren't meant to last. Ice cream, for example, or sunsets. And for the summer of 2006, Under the Influence of Giants' self-titled debut. It's a fun, slightly trashy affair meant for those months in which all you want to do it turn up the fan, turn down the lights, and have a good time. This doesn't mean that it's not a musically sound album, however. UTIOG, who incorporate disco and dance into their slickly produced rock, are ready (and willing) to provide an hour's worth of short-lived entertainment. And It doesn't hurt that the bandmembers are all very proficient on their instruments, either. The drums, fuzzy bass, and guitar create a good, danceable groove, occasional horns add a Peter Gabriel feel, and singer Aaron Bruno's versatile voice moves from a falsetto to a growl to a croon without any apparent strain — displayed particularly well in "Got Nothing," with its transition from the Jamiroquai-esque harmonies of the chorus to the Modest Mouse-inspired background yells all layered over seamless white-boy funk. And while most of the album — including "Mama's Room," the song that propelled UTIOG to the MySpace Top Eight charts around the country — stays in this realm, the band's musicianship is shown clearly in its ability to take on other styles, all while retaining the sleaziness that makes them so great. "Heaven Is Full" and "In the Clouds" are both pretty close to being club anthems, while "Stay Illogical" and "I Love You" move away from the keyboards and focus on warm, poppy melodies and hooks. The only place where Under the Influence of Giants falters is on "Lay Me Down," which, while it isn't bad, sounds far too much like a generic, radio-friendly song that, while it may have a longer shelf life, has none of that great, immediate satisfaction that the rest of the album is able to provide, and that we're all just begging to hear. So enjoy it while it's around, and think fondly of it when it inevitably goes away.


Formed: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Taking inspiration from big-name acts like the Beatles, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, the Bee Gees, and Prince (to spout just a few), the aptly named Under the Influence of Giants emerged from southern California in the early 2000s. The group was praised early on -- especially after the release of its debut single, "Mama's Room," in mid-2006 -- for its smooth combination of rock and pop with a funk-edged groove. Vocalist Aaron Bruno and guitarist Drew Stewart had been writing songs together...
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Under The Influence Of Giants, Under the Influence of Giants
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