Caged Animals – In The Land Of Giants

written by: September 9, 2013
Album-art-for-In-The-Land-Of-Giants-by-Caged-Animals Release Date: September 3, 2013


In The Land Of Giants marks the second album for Vincent Cacchione’s new band, Caged Animals. Out on September 3, In The Land takes a turn toward a gentler, electronically quirkier sound than his previous release as Caged Animals, as well as with his former rock band, Soft Black.

Cacchione lives in Brooklyn, the breeding ground and sister city to LA’s shoegaze indie pop scene. In The Land Of Giants dives away from the Future Islands wistfulness exhibited by previous releases, landing closer to soft electronic trials, most of which fall substantially short of special attention.

“Too Much Dark” is a promising opener for In The Land Of Giants, immediately identifying itself as a contender in the soft summer sounds craze.

Fantastic, throbbing bass and white ’80s noise lay the track’s course for Cacchione’s introductory vision, “There’s too much dark/Not enough light to see/But I want to run to you/I want to hold you beside me.” Sadly, though, this is almost as big as the album gets.

Surgeless melodies comb through innocent lyrics and the result is G-rated pleasantry, stock music for an indie-rock beginner.

Cacchione’s music in past singles (“The NJ Turnpike”; “Eat Your Own”) and on previous album Eat Their Own contained significant passion and promised that the listeners consistently feel throughout, a crucial composite that is unfortunately lost in In The Land Of Giants.

Chimes and gazing synths fail to brighten the overcast that is In The Land Of Giants’ monotone lifeline. The album is too light and easy to adequately contain the depth and gravity that inspired its creation.

Cacchione drew from his experiences working as an oxygen tank courier on Staten Island, interacting with introspective elders and critical situations on a regular basis. He also notes the influence of a recent peace felt within his family since the death of his father. In The Land Of Giants is meant to be his welcoming expression of these difficulties while actively avoiding too much darkness. Although this intention is kind, the absence of dark carries with it any real, permeable substance.

“Stop Hurting Each Other,” besides being one of the most straightforward titles in songwriting history, sounds like Vampire Weekend after a long stint of partying, squeezing out only sedated energy for one more Sunday night show.

Its attempts for perk are met with an underlying bleakness—a combination that results in a muddled, confusing fusion of both. Neither element quite latches onto an emotional string; both only passively express a sentiment that could have been more deeply composed and explored.

“Tiny Sounds” stands out among its In The Land counterparts, containing an authentic arrangement of irregular, building sounds. It’s a refreshing bite of ingenuity, something too noticeably lacking on the album’s preceding dainty generics, “U + Yr Rocketship” and “The Mute + The Mindreader.”

Title track “In The Land Of Giants” and closing track “What You’re Looking For” are smooth and melodic throwbacks to Caged Animals’ dreamier, honest sounds. They’ve suspended the contextually gawky glitches found on “A Psychic Lasso” for sincerity that matches the album’s themes.

A void of enthusiasm still exists, though; even where sadness should embody screams and cracks, a digital clarity and straight vocal tone take a dull and achingly simple route. In The Land of Giants is Caged Animals’ empty sophomore slump.

Caged Animals – In The Land Of Giants tracklist:

  1. “Too Much Dark”
  2. “Stop Hurting Each Other”
  3. “Cindy + Me”
  4. “The Sound Of Thunder”
  5. “U + Yr Rocketship”
  6. “The Mute + The Mindreader”
  7. “Tiny Sounds”
  8. “We’re Playing With Fire”
  9. “A Psychic Lasso”
  10. “In The Land Of Giants”
  11. “(you’re a giant now)”
  12. “What You’re Looking For”