It can be tough business distinguishing yourself as a singer-songwriter. You’re apt to blend into the endless stream of acoustic-toting, metaphor-spinning, gentle-voiced names constantly flowing through the world’s headphones. Tuxis Giant’s self-titled LP stirs up a gossamer dreamscape shaded by the Green Mountains of Vermont, alluded to in one of the tracks and home to part of the recording of Tuxis Giant. And while it’s a sanguine, easy listen, it does little to stand out in the sprawling world of similar sounds, a la Conor Oberst’s Bright Eyes.

Tuxis Giant embarks on a journey, both metaphorical and literal, bringing the listener with it. Embodied by the walking guitar riffs that pull you from track to track, with breathless and seamless transitions, the album finds strength in its structure. Parting the curtains to peek out, “Apocalypse Blues” is restrained and bare, Matt O’Connor’s voice a prominent feature over thin, nearly non-existent guitar. The songs build off of one another, culminating in twinkling riffs and somewhat cheesy lines that try just a little too hard to sound like indie-pop darling Sufjan Stevens. “I will put you in the suitcase of my memory so I can take you with me,” O’Connor sings brightly on “Empire State,” a tune about leaving behind everything you know.

There’s a flourishing instrumental in the form of “Kite,” which segues into the final song on the album. It closes unceremoniously, with a seven-minute long track that is soft spoken and heartfelt. “That House Was A Shell” fades out halfway through, leaving four minutes of distant wind chimes and various ambient noises that surge in and out, eventually resolving in a rollicking guitar riff that ushers the album to a close.

Tuxis Giant had an inherently high bar to reach as a debut album. On its way to reaching that bar, it lacks a signature element that could differentiate it from the overwhelming singer-songwriter world. Tuxis Giant has a long way to go before becoming a proverbial giant, though O’Connor is off to a good start with his cryptic moniker and freshman release.

Album Review: Tuxis Giant – Tuxis Giant
  • Intimate quality in bare-bones structure
  • Solid as a whole
  • Trying too hard to be Sufjan Stevens
  • No distinctive elements
7.3Gentle Giant

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