Between Giants - 'Sunset Cigarette'

Review by Sylvie Marie & Staff

They have cleared well over 800,000 music streams across all platforms with 30,000 monthly listeners located in major U.S. cities. They won an Independent Music Award for ‘Best Pop Album’ of 2019. They landed massive sync deals with department stores and radio stations across the US, scored a Netflix feature on the Japanese show “Terrace House,” and opened for heavy hitters such as Lydia, Kodaline, Drake Bell, Jon Bellion, Sea Girls, and The Rocket Summer. Oh, and they have sold out nearly every self-promoted headliner. If you haven't discovered Between Giants yet, today is your lucky indie rock day. One of the best bands (DIY or otherwise), the Brooklyn based trio of Tyler John (lead singer/ lone guitarist), Hans Massaquoi (keyboardist), and Pat Williams (drummer) is sure to be your next favorite. With a 21-city tour coming to a city near you, be sure to check out their latest 'duology' release Play Dead // Sunset Cigarette.


An unexpected introduction captures your full attention in the beginning of 'Sunset Cigarette' by Between Giants. A slow, questioning bass part, played in wide leaping synth intervals, joined by a contrasting treble countermelody, make for a swift and sparse intro that bursts wide open with hard hitting 16th notes on the drums leading to the first verse. The title of the song along with the intro pack a punch - this song is about contrast.

Lead singer Tyler John enters with a pristine vocal tone, cool and crisp. "Sunset Cigarette / If you’re fine then can we take a moment / Close this mouth of mine." From beginning to end, Tyler uses subtle expression, dynamics and articulation to bring the lyrics to life. He is not in your face - he is in your mind.


The arrangement moves forward with intricate eighth note patterns and textures. Rhythmically, the song has a strong groove that makes it impossible to stand still, even for a cigarette break. After the verse, the music thins out to make room for the chorus. Over the chorus a delicate bell-like melody (similar to a xylophone,) is heard lightly dancing.


"On and on and on and on You never could shut up Black and white and candlelight I feel so fucking dumb.

On and on and on and on You always shut me up Kiss me on the subway stairs You taste like candle wax."


Lyrically, Between Giants break the mold. Dropping bits and pieces of experience and emotion, the story is self-observational with a stream of conscious vibe which draws you into the small details. The scene is party where the protagonist is having fun despite his toxic relationship to the antagonist, the girl who "taste like candle wax." In "Sunset Cigarette" the cigarette is fun, but it's also bad for you. The sunset shines light on the darkness, but you take a drag anyway. The high is great in the moment, but the after-taste and toxic air lingers. The last line of the song is perhaps the best, "Can you leave cause I hate you."

"Sunset Cigarette" is seriously great indie rock song that avoids predictability and cliches, both musically and lyrically. With a very well-conceived arrangement, stellar musicianship, intelligent lyrics and an expressive vocal performance, Between Giant's is the band you want to hear at the party, and you will fall in love with their sound and take them home on your playlist.


Listen on Spotify.


For more information, please visit Between Giant's website.

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