Post-hardcore is dead, sure. But whatever Dance Gavin Dance are doing is alive and well. They have elements of many genres while defying any one category, possessing some of the craziest musicianship out there today. After several lineup changes, the band recruited Tilian Pearson of Tides of Man fame, and their newest release, Acceptance Speech, is one of their strongest to date.
Will Swan’s hectic riffing opens the album with “Jesus H. Macy,” which also happens to be the best song title ever. It wastes no time introducing the band’s new sound, insofar as you can call it that. DGD has always been pretty much the same cake with different frosting, but the cake is damn yummy, and the frosting makes a noticeable enough difference. “Doom & Gloom” is a great example of the new lineup’s chemistry, powering through a drum-heavy intro to a guitar slapping section midway through. It has the feel of the DGD universe and adds another dimension to it. If the band’s discography has explored the weird streets of their town, Acceptance Speech is the day-to-day events.
The classic DGD sound is evident in songs like “Turn Off the Lights, I’m Watching Back to the Future Pt. 2,” complete with riffy intro and trampoline-meets-mosh pit feel. It also has a spine-tingling moment from Pearson. It’s tough to classify this album as a departure from previous albums, but it is. The vocoded vocals and rapping on “Death of the Robot with Human Hair” are a great example. At many times, the guitars echo the greatness that is Coheed and Cambria’s fourth studio album, playing off each other with great pentatonic rhythm-lead relationships. As evident in many songs, notably the title track, Pearson has turned his voice into an instrument, providing harmonies behind the music and screams that are weird as hell but fit perfectly. “Demo Team” is an ear-catcher, starting off more heavily than tenured fans for expect, but the fact that the lyrics make fun of bands who use Auto-Tune and other artificial effects makes the song ten times better. “The Jiggler” and “Strawberry Swisher, Pt. 3” show the band’s roots and add more depth.
What fans shouldn’t expect is Downtown Battle Mountain Pt. 3. The band’s fragmentation applies even to their evolving sound, and this is no exception. That said, the musicianship on this album has grown immensely from previous albums and breaks new ground for the band. It is nothing less than a frenzy with moments of respite, but only moments. Acceptance Speech is a wonderful offering from the band, and Dance Gavin Dance will always be, through lineup and sound changes, Dance Gavin Dance.
MP3: Dance Gavin Dance “Turn Off the Lights, I’m Watching Back to the Future Pt. 2”