In understanding GIVERS, it’s helpful to think of a constellation, a configuration of points that, when placed in succession, led to the band’s brilliant debut. The metaphor proves particularly useful given the name of their album – In Light is a collection filled with uncontainable brightness, buoyed by constantly evolving rhythms, warmed by spangling guitars, and illuminated by the melodic altruism that is the band’s mission statement. Mixed by Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Cee-Lo) as well as Chris Coady (Beach House, Grizzly Bear) and produced by members of the band along with friend and engineer Korey Richey, In Light is as complex as it is enjoyable. It is a record that is as unique as the sounds of the state in which the band lives, and GIVERS themselves.
GIVERS first came together when lead singer/guitarist Taylor Guarisco and lead singer/percussionist Tiffany Lamson both started attending University in New Orleans. Lamson, waiting for renovations to be complete in her new apartment, ended up crashing on Guarisco’s couch. They quickly bonded over a shared love of bands, and revealed they were both musicians. Guarisco's immersion in the sounds of New Orleans as a youth led him to play in handful of different funk, Cajun, and Zydeco groups. This influence on his playing was easily complemented by Lamson's strong upbringing and appreciation for classic rock, soul, and pop.
Hurricane Katrina forced the duo back to their hometown of Lafayette, where they began to play together regularly, eventually recruiting drummer Kirby Campbell, keyboardist Will Henderson, saxophonist/keyboardist Nick Stephan and bassist Josh LeBlanc to fill out their sound. The players spent most of their waking hours creating improvised jams and molding them into powerful songs, recording in drummer Campbell’s apartment as they went. After a handful of local gigs, it was an opening slot for The Dirty Projectors that solidified GIVERS’ fate in July 2009: realizing that music was their calling, the band made a pact to focus all of their attention to getting GIVERS off the ground. The Dirty Projectors liked them so much they asked them to open the east coast leg of their fall tour; soon after, Ra Ra Riot did the same. Stereogum called them a “Band to Watch” for 2010, and blog buzz began to reach a fever pitch. GIVERS played and played, bringing their dizzying live energy from coast to coast, eventually ending up in front of Glassnote Entertainment Group’s legendary musical guru, Daniel Glass at the Austin City Limits Festival. Glass was so taken by the band’s infectious sound and jubilant live show that he signed them immediately.
In listening to In Light, it’s easy to hear what propelled the band so quickly. Engineer Ben Allen, known for his work with everyone from Cee-Lo to Animal Collective, helped to provide sounds that expanded the band’s greatest assets – their innate knack for the catchiest of melodies, and the ever-evolving rhythms and sense of adventure that gave them their experimental edge.
Opener and first single “Up Up Up” is nothing short of anthemic, a rousing calling card for the band’s elated sound. “Ripe” is a kaleidoscope of sultry Afro-pop, while “Meantime” showcases the band’s instrumental and thematic investment in fluidity, capping off with a no-holds-barred group sing-along. “Words” fuses fist-pumping, heavy percussion with staccato vocal chants, and “In My Eyes” is lifted into the night sky by fluttering harmonies, steel drum chimes, swirling guitar solos and cricket hums. “Atlantic” laces Lamson’s textured drawl with Caribbean accents, ukulele plucks and keyboard sparkles. Refreshingly alive with melody, endless energy, and downright danceability, In Light is the perfect introduction to a band whose name you will be hearing throughout 2011 and beyond…