Givers, XOYO, London

2.00

 

Afro-pop folk band Givers don't have a slogan, but if they did it would be "It's nice to be nice". The singers, Taylor Guarisco and Tiffany Lamson perform with the emphatic smiles of drama school children in panto. Their music is uplifting; to watch them is like watching happy Muppets dancing around, on ecstasy. They're aggressively happy – they bounce, and wiggle and gyrate and smile a lot. They even use the break between songs to tell us how much they love London ("I love that you drive on the left here. I really do," says Lamson).

Maybe it's because they're from Louisiana, they've been raised on sunshine and Cajun music, not muted summers and stodge. In the band's first single, "Up Up Up" – a glorious, effervescent number with African influences – you can almost feel the heat of the sun as you listen. It's warming and uplifting, but the other tunes from their debut album, In Light, just don't match up to that single.

The band's blog says "We've put our hearts, souls, everything – into this record", but in performance it's very hit and miss. Many songs seem disjointed, like two or three different tunes put together. "Noche Nada" has two halves. It starts as fun indie-pop, then the electric ukulele takes over and it sounds rocky. On the album, it works to build the energy of the song, but it's more dramatically disconnected when played live.

The twinkly xylophone in "Ceiling of Plankton" sounds folky and joyful, with echoes of ska music. It ends with the confusion of drumming present at the end of most of their songs. The lyrics are engagingly visceral – guts and bleeding hearts feature heavily, yet it still maintains a feeling of joy.

There is one sad song in the set: "Go Out at Night", a happy-sounding song about being sad. Here, Lamson suddenly stops grinning, she curls into a ball and hits the floor with her fists. It's unnecessarily theatrical.

Givers have been likened to Mystery Jets and Vampire Weekend but their layers of funk, Cajun and other influences from Louisiana – like zydeco music (a type of bluesy-folk music ) give them the potential for something more imaginative. Sadly, their focus on grinning and jumping around means that live, they never reach the magic that's hinted at on their album.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power