Young the Giant disappoints with ‘Mirror Master’

by Chris Bach

Young the Giant disappoints with ‘Mirror Master’

Young the Giant
Mirror Master

Elektra · October 12, 2018

Young the Giant disappoints with ‘Mirror Master’

Mirror Master shows flashes of unique greatness while remaining utterly forgettable otherwise.

Most kids who grew up on alternative rock/indie YouTube recommendations and Pandora playlists know both Young the Giant and their hit “Cough Syrup.” Seven years after the release of “Cough Syrup,” the band is back with their fourth studio album, Mirror Master. Best known for their self-titled album released in 2011 with singles like “My Body” and the previously mentioned “Cough Syrup”, Young the Giant maintains a distinct 2010’s indie rock sound on Mirror Master that is enticing for longtime fans, but potentially tiresome for casual listeners.

The centerpiece of this album is opening track “Superposition”. The lyrics are bland, but concise mandolins bring a unique and dynamic instrumental element to the track. “Heat of the Summer” is another highlight, as the distorted post-chorus guitars add a musically engaging side to their simple indie rock. This album benefits greatly from these impressive and compelling moments. The closer, “Mirror Master”, has a rollicking and exciting chorus that stands out against the rest of the LP. It is the most memorable track and acts as a metaphorical sprint to the finish line for this album.

But if the bookends of Mirror Master metaphorically sprint, the rest of the album metaphorically crawls. The empty lyrics and uninteresting riffs make 85 percent of this album entirely forgettable for all but the most earnest Young the Giant fans. Specific lowlights were the plodding and wholly irredeemable guitars on “Simplify” and the vulnerable, but unfortunately forgettable track “You + I”. Young the Giant’s discography up to and including Mirror Master reveals a musical formula copied and pasted across their albums — lifeless, faux-intellectual lyrics combined with pedestrian, uninspired indie rock, punctuated by glimmers of musical mastery. And this musical mastery is why Mirror Master is so conflicting. After listening to this album 15 to 20 times, it’s still a struggle to find meaning in the arbitrary lyricism and uninspired indie rock. But “Superposition,” “Heat of the Summer,” and “Mirror Master” are a stark contrast to this formula with fun riffs and unique musical elements.

Ultimately, this album sounds exactly like what one would expect from a Young the Giant album. Occasionally, it yields flashes of impressive and genuinely unique moments, but overwhelmingly, it disappoints the casual listener and devolves into a very skippable album. That said, if Young the Giant put those unique moments together, their fifth studio album will be one to remember.

Listen to Mirror Master: