Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
Dance Gavin Dance
Written by: TL on 27/11/2016 13:52:24
Somebody hold the fucking phone because, lo and behold, eleven years into its existence as a band, Californian hyper-technical post-hardcore project Dance Gavin Dance has made a new record with no line-up changes since the last one. It took them seven attempts to accomplish this, but judging from how "Mothership" sounds, consistency might have been the key that guitarist Will Swan's group of weirdos needed to elevate their game, because while it is long and positively exhausting at thirteen tracks and 49 minutes, "Mothership" takes every bit of criticism you could level at its predecessor "Instant Gratification" and utterly, absolutely obliterates it.
Where things felt like they were getting a bit too formulaic and superficial in their pop/post-hardcore-ness on the 2015 album, Swan, Mingus, Mess, Pearson and Feerick have reintroduced elaborate notions of prog and heaviness on "Mothership", without even compromising on the levels of catchiness that were already on the rise after Pearson's installation as the band's full-time clean singer in 2012. In fact, the new album is positively bursting with melodies and lyrical hooks of his that move straight into your short time memory, which is ironic, considering the lyrics of "Perfect melodies are hard to find", in opener "Chucky vs. The Giant Robot", which instantly proceeds to make you sing stupidly to yourself that "lately, baby, I've been going crazy, trying not to be an embarrasment"
"Young Robot" follows with an instantly recognisable woodwind signature and some phat proggy verse riffage. "Frozen One" descends into delicious depravity with a crunchy break morphing into racing tapping madness after the first chorus, and "Flossie Dickey Bounce" gets dumb like few others than DGD can get away with. Funky guitars pulse in the bottom, while Pearson brazenly croons "Oh wow, you're looking dirty, need a champagne shower now" to Mess's cheeky response of "Pow pow! Pow pow!" leading up to decadent screams of "Cocaine cringe fest! Cocaine cringe fest!". At this point, "Mothership" is at "Instant Gratification" 's level, yet the next three tracks elevate it to a noticeably higher gear. "Deception" is a picture perfect example of the band's schizophrenic style: Excess with excess on top, with all guns blazing in the chorus. Swan is shredding post-rock guitar off the hook, Pearson is scaling seamlessly up and down from sky-high vocal pinnacles and Mingus is pummeling away on double pedals. If casual music fans hadn't gotten off already, they do so here, as the intensity reaches a level ones ears require a bit of attuning to before fully appreciating the wildness of it.
"Inspire The Liars" and "Philosopher King" bring proceedings to a climax, with tempo changes and dynamics that are adjusted for the ADHD generation and Pearson lets it all hang out, now more frequently belting with full power, as fans have long been clamouring for, basically since Jonny Craig departed the band after their first album in 2007. After that comes a well-timed change of pace in the laid back start of "Here Comes The Winner", before the album moves towards its closing with stuff like a super catchy pop hook in "Betrayed By The Game", an utter bruising that makes you year for a mosh pit in "Petting Zoo Justice" and an obligatory Will Swan rap, borrowing from "Hotline Bling" in "Chocolate Jackalope".
Ending with "Man Of The Year", "Mothership" punctuates a resounding demonstration of how Dance Gavin Dance are absolutely not restricted in repetitive clean/scream tech/pop ping-pong. They can do that, but they can also head full speed into head-spinning journeys of uniquely sounding musical excess. Swan's maddening guitar leads resemble neverending streams of cascading Super Mario coins, while Pearson's performance and vocal performance casts him as both darting r&b hummingbird and vein-popping, all-out post-hardcore belter. OK, Mess' screaming technique is not, in a vacuum, outside of the ordinary for screamy music, and the album does have one sort of forgettable track in "Exposed". But that's it, one track, the other twelve are positively electrifying. So as long as sensory overload is not an obstacle for you as a listener, "Mothership" is in strong contention with Night Verses' "Into The Vanishing Light" for album of the year.
Download: Deception, Philosopher King, Young Robot, Inspire The Liars
For The Fans Of: The Fall Of Troy, Issues, Mutiny On The Bounty, Hail The Sun, The Mars Volta
Release date 07.10.2016