As far as debuts go, Trevor Borden’s Giants aims high and hits its mark. The young Santa Barbaran follows in the footsteps of earnest folkies like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. The ballads are somber, contemplative, and move from hushed to swelling in just a few bars. Still, what sets Borden apart from his contemporaries is also what makes Giants work so well. Rather than flooding the four-song EP with overwrought harmonies and sing-alongs, Borden spends most of the record alone at the mike, and his booming and gravelly voice is perfectly suited for this type of music making. Lead track “Lights” kicks things off with a charming and chimey intro, while Borden weaves a story about family and hopefulness in the face of hard times. Later, “Giants” pairs Borden with a female vocalist to create a tale about learning to love. And uplifting closer “Manzanita” leaves us somewhere between the sweet and the sad, the downtrodden and the hopeful, which seems to be the sweet spot Borden loves best.


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