The New York rock scene has been badly in need of a serious ass-kicking for a couple of years now—and with the release of their self-titled Razor & Tie label debut, the Giraffes are poised to deliver it. This ten-song collection brims with raw power, lyrical wit, and seriously sophisticated musicianship.
The Giraffes flows from start to finish as a consistent, near-conceptual sonic entity. From the opening blast of “Junior At His Worst” to the intense finale of “Honey Baby Child,” the Giraffes’ music can be angry, joyful, scary, mournful, and witty—sometimes within the same song.
Guitarist Damien Paris calls it “sexy metal,” and the music’s anarchic spirit keeps it from sounding ponderous or self-important. Bassist John Rosenthal notes that the Giraffes play “what sounds like crazy music—but it’s also a musician’s music. The songs are created collectively and the level of skill is really high.”
The Giraffes were formed in the late Nineties by Damien Paris and drummer Andrew Totolos; the present lineup coalesced in the summer of 2002. Prior to their affiliation with Razor & Tie, the band released two albums (including Helping You Help Yourself) and an EP (A Gentleman Never Tells)—mostly recorded in their own homemade studio, under a Hasidic dry cleaning shop.
But this new self-produced CD marks a great leap forward into the bigger, more professional environment. At Brooklyn’s Studio G, expert engineer Joel Hamilton (who’s worked there with everyone from Unsane to Ludacris) helped the Giraffes capture more of the furious energy of their live shows, and mixed the tracks to a razor’s edge.
“In terms of balls-out rocking,” says Andrew Totolos, “this one definitely has an extra ball.”
“Each song was so powerful and absorbing that when the music ended, it took me a few seconds to register that it was over, that the spell was broken,” wrote one stunned reviewer of a typical 2004 performance. “These guys are not playing music—they are performing an invocation.”
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