When you hear “indie”, “no label”, and “self-recorded”, normally you think of scrappy fuzzed out records sound like they were recorded by a mic set inside a tin cup. You don’t think of a lush, well-crafted EP by Gainesville, Florida upstart And the Giraffe.
And the Giraffe bill themselves as “dream folk”, which is a far better description than anything I’m going to come up with. They fit in well with any down-tempo, clean guitar based indie group of the last couple years, particularly Bon Iver. Slightly fuller than For Emma, Forever Ago but less cramped than Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Something for Someone is mostly grounded in acoustic and electric guitar, atmospheric production, and drums. The overall feel of the EP is minimalist; of six songs, only 2 or 3 fully utilize drums, and the acoustic guitar is mixed lower than in most records I’ve encountered. The electric guitar mostly picks out reverb leaden melodies that remind me of Explosions in the Sky at their most poignant.
Due to the minimal instrumentation and heavy production, Something for Someone is the kind of record that wraps itself in the listener and isolates them. This quality is especially evident on opener “Underground Love”, which is one of the clearer songs on the record. The EP’s warmth is in no small part due to Nick Roberts’ and Josh Morris’ vocal styles. Expressive while showing restraint and calm, the duo’s baritone vocals sound instantly familiar, yet somehow distinct. It’s not a sound that could work with a lot of bands, but it fits And the Giraffe’s overall ambient sound very well.
Taken as a whole, the band works best when their echoy productions have some forward momentum. “Masquerade” is bookended with some of the strongest guitar playing put on the record, and the drumwork on “Still” helps the song stick. That’s not to write the middle of the EP off by any stretch, especially “Magic 8”, which builds layers of guitar and bass into a gorgeous piece. That said, “1055” meanders a little too much, showing one of the weaknesses to dream folk: it can be a hard style to sustain in a fulfilling way.
But that’s something more for the band to keep in mind moving forward. As it stands, Something for Someone has something for everyone (I’m not apologizing for that). It’s a calm, soothing EP with some strong production values and intricate instrumentation, and is rewarding in every listen, four out of five stars.
tl;dr: Looking for some winter-friendly, pretty ambient folk? Look no further, 4/5.