They Say You Are A Giant
"I am coming out for blood," Trevor Saint Aubin sings on the opening track of They Say You Are A Giant, the Indianapolis band's latest scintillating EP, ushering in 2016 with a strong statement of musical purpose.
Not as though that's anything new — Saint Aubin, as a band, made its bones on putting out a twisty hybrid of swampy blues-fueled Americana, and each prior EP built on the framework, from live recordings of bare simplicity to last year's stunner Moonlight Monster. That effort held up particularly well to repeat listening, easily better than most full-lengths I heard in 2015.
The lyrics aren't quite as dark this time out. But "Wind and Weather" clings tenuously to Moonlight Monster's strain of melancholy against a light acoustic backdrop, hints of Iron & Wine's Samuel Beam on the vocals, allowing shades of hope to sneak through the blacks and greys. "I was as constant as the north star, but you know that I won't fade," Saint Aubin howls as he builds toward the chorus. "Let it go! No, I can't believe that I'm afraid of hope. Will you always be this hollow ghost?"
The EP progresses along that lyrical theme, a search for the redemption of love and acceptance amid what might otherwise seem a life of rejection and failure. The hook of "Will Comply" may be the strongest they've written yet, with tight harmonies and a memorable strain of alt-country guitar which sticks the landing on first listen. But nothing tops the deep delicious crunch of the fuzzed-out bass on the EP's title track, which leads into a guitar solo so startlingly out of left field for the band, it's hard to believe I'm not listening to something off Brother O' Brother's Show Pony.
Saint Aubin's sound benefits from the EP treatment, as each song gets its chance to shine without overwhelming the next. And there's a strong sense of progression, lyrically and musically. Whereas Moonlight Monster seemed to be something of a collection of individual moments, these on They Say You Are A Giant have a dedicated sense of purpose, expanding from Americana to full-on blues rock in such a subtle manner you'll barely believe it before you're hitting repeat for the first of many listens.