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Young the Giant: Mind Over Matter 

Southern California's Young the Giant leapt from unknown to radio darlings on the band's 2011 self-titled debut.

For an encore, the band recorded a superior-in-nearly-every-way album. But what Mind Over Matter lacks is a song as immediately compelling as Young the Giant's inescapable breakthrough hit, "My Body." Neither of the first two singles, "It's About Time" or "Crystallized," come close to matching the buoyant, sing-along energy of "My Body."

Heavy touring and a couple follow-up singles made Young the Giant one of the surprise stars of 2011. So while Mind Over Matter is the work of a tighter, more dynamic and more distinctive band, the sophomore album may struggle to make such a strong first impression.

Despite the clunky "beat of my heart" / "beat of the drum" metaphor, "Crystallized" is the album's most promising track. The guitar/synth blend is infectious and singer Sameer Gadhia impresses with both range and power.

Other top tracks are the power-poppy "Anagram," the Bloc Party-style dance rock of "Daydreamer" and the not-quite-Coldplay ballad "Firelight."

Recording with Grammy-nominated producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Young the Giant manage to stretch out creatively while retaining the band's radio-friendly style. It's a step forward overall, but at the end of Mind Over Matter, what I really want to do is dig back and cue up "My Body" again.

More by Eric Swedlund

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