Every so often, a nameless song will overtake the airwaves and television advertising until – before you realise it – you are humming the melodies, tapping your foot, and trying to sing along to the lyrics and failing by making up your own. In 2010, one such song was courtesy of The Naked And Famous. Their iridescent synth-pop single Young Blood was to be found everywhere, and now onto their second album, In Rolling Waves, the band have evidently matured into a new beast.
The New Zealand band’s detour in direction is only emphasised with their forthcoming single I Kill Giants, a song which you would not associate with the band of years previous. Whilst the rippling verses feel like familiar territory, with vocalist Alisa Xayalith’s intoxicating voice drawing us into her warm embrace, the song suddenly disjoints at the chorus, the vocals falling offbeat, which is only reinforced by the synthy punch that comes at the end of the refrain ‘Why couldn’t we save… you?’. Despite the electronic nature of the song, I Kill Giants carries resoundingly sombre undertones, with Xayalith stating upon the debut of the video of the single that the song was written about losing her mother to breast cancer at a young age, and with this in mind, the song again morphs into another altogether different being.
As the band continue to grow and experiment with sound and content, I Kill Giants embodies the transition perfectly. Three years ago, a song such as this would have been almost unthinkable on the band’s debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You, an altogether poppier affair, yet with In Rolling Waves – and more specifically, I Kill Giants – the band step away from their more mainstream output to construct a number that is certainly a tougher cookie to chew. It may not be as immediate or carry the hooks associated with their first album, but I Kill Giants is a powerful and poignant number that deserves to be a staple in their repertoire.
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