For Essex punks Giants, the release of their debut full-length ‘Break The Cycle’ has been a long time coming. Having been part of crop of valuable DIY bands for the past few years, the quintet have, like many bands, slaved away putting out EPs and singles and touring whilst working normal jobs. Nevertheless ‘Break The Cycle’ is now out in the open and the hard work and patience has paid off. More importantly the mood in the camp is one of relief. “It is definitely a relief. We can’t wait for people to hear it!” states guitarist/vocalist George Chitty. However he identifies a minor niggle in ‘Break The Cycle’ – “some of the songs feel old already”. Chitty has a point yet it’s a common issue in the music industry.
Nonetheless ‘Break The Cycle’ turns out to be a measured effort with vintage hardcore combining with melodic punk offering twists and turns throughout. Songs such as ‘I’ve Been Low’ and ‘Break The Cycle’ are filled with urgency and aggression yet don’t stray too far from their skate punk roots.
“I think our intentions for the album were always to do our thing. Stick to what we enjoy and write music we were happy with.” confirms George. “I don’t think we’ve gone out of our way to be ‘original’ or stand out, just kept it honest and what we enjoy playing.” It is that aforementioned honesty, and aforementioned DIY mentality that make Giants admirable.
The origins of ‘Break The Cycle’ are knitted in the bands DIY mindset. At the end of 2014, with no label to support them, they decided to take the crowdfunding route, a common trait for many bands in recent years. “It really was the best option for us. We are five normal dudes holding down five fairly normal jobs, so having the money up front to pay to record our first full length album was looking pretty impossible – albums are expensive!” explains George. As you can probably guess, the PledgeMusic campaign proved to be a success and now fans, both new and old, are reaping the rewards through ‘Break The Cycle’.
“If the messages we’re trying to convey stick, then that’s cool”
To record the album, Giants enlisted the services of longtime collaborator Neil Kennedy and his equally famous Ranch Production House in Southampton. “We’ve known Neil for quite a few years now. we’ve recorded with him a fair few times so he knows how we work” explains George, “we all really value his opinion when it comes to being indecisive idiots wasting his studio time!”
The combination of a seasoned producer and a band willing to grow musically and lyrically has resulted in ‘Break The Cycle’ documenting a group with focused hunger and with plenty to get off their chest. ‘Against The Grain’ and ‘Resignation’ are pure examples of this as they demonstrate a socio-political message. “It definitely fuels the aggression because it’s something we actually believe in” George clarifies, “If the messages we’re trying to convey stick, then that’s cool as there are some genuine important subjects in there.”
With the album completed in the first half of 2015, the band sought out a label to release it and when it comes to UK hardcore, it is considered there is no label as influential than Holy Roar. Formed by Alex Fitzpatrick 10 years ago, the label has been home to a who’s who of modern British hardcore; Bastions, Gallows, Last Witness, Employed To Serve, Kerouac, Pulled Apart By Horses, Pariso, Svalbard, Rolo Tomassi and more. On joining Holy Roar, George said:
“Once we had the album done we sent it about and eventually got speaking to Alex from Holy Roar. He’s a great guy dedicated to putting out good music. He didn’t try to sell us any bullshit, just a solid label that can help us get our music out there. We couldn’t ask for more.”
“We’ve literally put our whole lives into it the past couple of years”
Whilst Giants show plenty of passion on ‘Break The Cycle,’ it is a live setting where they truly thrive. Having put in the road miles playing throughout the UK and Europe in venues big and small, stylistically it’s no surprise Giants’ shows are frantic and now with an arsenal of “new” songs ready to be played, you can expect to see plenty of Giants in 2016. With a UK and European run with fellow UK hardcore Landscapes and Southern California’s Capsize set to take place in the spring. When asked about the shows, George fervent replies with “the set is going to be chockablock new shit, we can’t wait!”
With ‘Break The Cycle’ now out alongside shows and festival season on the horizon, a new chapter is set to begin in Giants’ career. The past two years have been one of growth and perseverance for the Essex band, now they only hope people take something away from ‘Break The Cycle’
We’d love for people to just relate to it in anyway. We’ve literally put our whole lives into it the past couple of years and we’re really proud to see it all come together.
‘Break the Cycle’ by Giants is out now on Holy Roar Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)