by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Iowa's Giving Up (with members in both Minnesota and Kentucky) like to play it loose. It's kind of their gift. On the band's sophomore album, Garner Cardinals, due out February 16th via Sophomore Lounge, the band's ramshackle punk is, intentionally, coming apart at the seems, and it's exactly what makes them a great band. Developing their sound over the past decade, it's tightly wound slop-perfection, an intimate look into trash-pop that wriggles with a twitchy disposition and enough charm to choke us all.
Opening with the propulsive and punchy "Body," the record unfolds with layers like an onion. It's not always pleasant, but it's essential for flavor. The more you listen, the better it gets. Led by Mikie Poland and Jenny Rose, the band's harmonies tighten around simple progressions, expanding what often seems askew ("April Showers") into something poetic. Contorting Americana vibes, math rock undertones, and jangly pop into their own innocent bliss, Giving Up balance raw ("Hairdo"), ultra-catchy ("Big Muscles"), and the simply stunning ("Guts")... and they keep it weird all the while. Garner Cardinals is a deceptive record though. If there are moments that have you wondering just what they might be up to, it's all by design. This record is fully realized, warts and all, a brilliant fusion of personality and intelligent punk structures.
As the album concludes with Rose shouting about "Tupac is on Letterman AGAIN tonight!" it's been a strange journey, but we're all better for it. Garner Cardinals is a good time for all.
Giving Up's Garner Cardinals is out February 16th via Sophomore Lounge.