Brooklyn is not a borough known for its metal bands, but here come the Giraffes anyway. They may be from the same hipster colony that birthed art rock acts like Deerhoof and TV on the Radio, but you wouldn’t know it from their music: The ten songs on the Giraffes’ self-titled album are about as arty as Andrew W.K. in a china shop. Sample lyric: “You’re going home in a fucking ambulance!”
Metallica and Black Sabbath are the obvious touchstones, but the rhythm section clearly owns a copy of The Who’s Greatest Hits as well. Drug addiction and soccer riots provide fodder for the lyrics, while the flammable guitar work could have only come from someone that’s walked some of life’s hard roads (or moved a Marshall stack into Manhattan on the subway). The Giraffes play with the kind of unchecked intensity that their press kit insists has largely been missing from the New York rock landscape. (This is probably what cost the city its bid for the 2012 Olympics.)
This current incarnation of the Giraffes has been in place since the summer of 2002, but some band members have been playing together since 1995. This is evident in the fact that they don’t seem to be influenced by any music recorded post-grunge. Tracks like “Having Fun” and “Sugarbomb” would probably have been an easy sell to alternative radio circa the mid-’90s. This is no criticism, though, as the Giraffes pull it all off admirably, singer Aaron Lazar in particular, as he becomes James Hetfield, Scott Weiland, and Chris Cornell, sometimes within the span of a single inflection.
The Giraffes are also capable of crafting a melody, something that might broaden their appeal to include some of their neighbors. A song like “79 & Weightless” is one that can be enjoyed by owners of all mullets, ironic or earnest.
The Giraffes’ album is out tomorrow on Razor & Tie, and they play New York’s Ace of Clubs on July 22.
Links: The Giraffes’ official site