Seattle trio Naked Giants have released their second full-length album The Shadow. Arriving two years after 2018 debut SLUFF, it’s a frantic and freewheeling collection of fuzzed-out rock that follows several years of flexing their creative muscles as tourmates to Car Seat Headrest – both as support act and live backing band, typically in the same night.
“In the years since our previous album SLUFF was recorded, we have toured around the world, honed our musical skills and found our own little place in the music industry,” explain the band.
“But we have also seen our share of shadows, and it is through acknowledging these shadows that we grow the most. Each song on The Shadow examines an aspect of this growth through a different musical lens, adding up to a series of rock and roll vignettes of light, shadow, anxiety and responsibility.”
To celebrate The Shadow arriving today, Naked Giants took us through each track on the album. Have a read – and listen to the new record – below.
‘Walk Of Doom’
A fast-paced punk tune which examines the feeling of shutting out the world while walking to the store for groceries. There are so many things demanding attention – advertisements, trash on the sidewalk, canvassers for local government, people who need spare change a lot more than I do – but I shut it all out and plug in my headphones because I can’t handle the stimulation.
A self-aware and satirical critique of millennial laziness and entitlement. Classic Naked Giants syncopated guitar, upbeat drums and bass with a punk tinge.
‘Take A Chance’
At the same time an anthem of risk and reward, and a critique of blind impulse and privilege. A dancey and timeless groover with cutting guitars and a strong vocal attitude, contrasted by a slightly cheeky and pared-down chorus.
A sombre reflection on mistakes, space, and growth. Even the closest relationships are marred with mistakes and regret, and only through constant commitment to care and development can a deeper love be achieved. After listening to U2’s The Joshua Tree plenty of times in the tour van, we wanted to write a song that accesses a similar level of emotional and musical depth, while also accessing the cheese-factor of a wordless chorus.
‘(God Damn!) What I Am’
Written to be a “classic” Naked Giants style song – the stomping guitar riffs, bombastic attitude and hooky chorus. But all the fun and privilege of playing our music night after night is mixed up with personal demons of depression and anxiety, as well as the responsibility of using our voice and visibility for good even as we figure out how to be better in our personal lives.
A folk-meets-grunge song about the manifestation of imperialist/colonizer culture in the large and small scales of life. Just as we live in a land that was violently stolen en masse, our individual everyday actions (and inaction) contribute to the loss of culture, humanity, and life. And the effects of these losses extend from family trauma to personal depression and pain.
An anthem of anxiety and psychosis, contrasted with the joy and power of art as therapy and release. Eerie and chantable verses touch on a dissociation, while the outro brings a climax and release from the inescapable dissonance of the modern human.
Post-punk rumination on information overload. Every day we are confronted with more news and non-news, and the heavy tragedies are delivered on the same plate as meaningless memes. At times it feels like head-rush anxiety, and at times it feels like mindless scrolling, and all the while there’s a quiet voice that knows the constant stream of information is unhealthy and unnecessary.
‘Better Not Waste My Time’
A 90’s influenced grungey/slackery ode to moving on from a past lover. Pared down and to the point verses are contrasted with raucous instrumentals and noise breaks, leading to a climax with a sentimental yet heavy outro touching on the growth and wisdom that can come from ending a toxic relationship.
We pulled on some heavy metal and fuzzy garage rock influences and paired them with a Green Fuzz/TV style multi-part epic song. The title track is a broader summary of the more specific moments and ideas in the rest of the album – the world is a jumbled mess of shadow and light, sadness and joy, anxiety and purpose. All of this lives within us and without us, and it is only through constant awareness that we can progress from “jumbled mess” to healthy balance.
‘Song For When You Sleep’
An acoustic-based song of a road-weary travel thinking about their loved one back home. Through the darkness and unknown of the road, the narrator’s definition of love is molded and shaped by the light and warmth of the love in their memories and conversations with their family and significant other from home. Their relationship with love is shaped by how the light creates a safe space within that unknown darkness.
The Shadow is out now.