That Love This Giant exceeds those high expectations, that's the true pleasure and thrill of the album. Not surprisingly, Annie Clark pretty much steals the show, but in all truth, I think that was by design. Byrne floats above and in and out of the album, but it's Annie Clark who persistently shines throughout Giant; whether as an angelic voice singing over the urban grooves of "Ice Age," burning anthemic and shredding the guitar on "The Forest Awakes," or as a soul songstress on the slinky funk of "Lightning," she owns this record. It's still David Byrne's sandbox however, and his presence is pervasive. He and Clark resurrect the urge to do odd dance moves with the inevitable art funk of lead single "Who," while "I Should Watch TV" continues his ongoing Macluhanesque deconstruction of popular media, and "Optimist" his fondness for secular spiritual music.
There's a lovely sensation of wholeness and seamlessness to Love This Giant as it builds to it's climax with the joyfully Dap-King and Antibalas heavy "The One Who Broke Your Heart," the one song of the set that specifically recalls Byrne's legendary work with Talking Heads. In part that's because I really enjoyed the album's use of horns throughout. I will admit that I am a sucker for horns, on classic soul records, Afrobeat jams, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, TV On The Radio's Dear Science, or at the end of M83's "Midnight City," tasteful and soulful horns seldom go wrong as far I am concerned, and on Giant they add exuberance and immediacy while also providing a funky, unifying sound / touchstone for the album, keeping in line with Byrne's keen artistic sense and justifiably storied Talking Heads and solo career.
While hardly earth shattering, Love This Giant is nonetheless a joyful, funky, and thoroughly alive contribution to David Byrne's oeuvre that also serves notice to the world that now, it's Annie Clark's turn... and that we're definitely in good hands.
Oh yeah, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the excellent cd packaging. I know it's old fashioned, picking up cd's, but this one is worth forgoing modernity and it's infernal 1's and 0's in favor of the lovely physical article. While not quite an objet d'art , it's close.