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Album Review

Dance Gavin Dance – Mothership


Pushing the boundaries of where a band can go.

Label: Rise Records
Released: 7th October 2016

Rating: ★★★★

It wouldn’t be a Dance Gavin Dance album without some strange song titles. ‘Flossie Dickey Bounce’, ‘Petting Zoo Justice’; take your pick. There is, however, method in the madness. ‘Chucky vs The Giant Tortoise’ has moments of profundity (“don’t let this moment go to waste, you don’t know when the feeling could happen again”) tucked in to its equally noisy and tuneful sound.

Are those panpipes at the start of ‘Young Robot’? Regardless, Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess’ vocals sound sublime together, the contrast of near falsetto and scratchy screams balancing each other out flawlessly, neither outshining the other. The two vocalist sound hasn’t been done this well since Alexisonfire and ‘Frozen One’’s breakdowns avoid sounding too heavy thanks to the balance between the frontmen.

The impressive vocals soar through ‘Deception’ and ‘Inspire The Liars’, before crashing into a cacophonous ‘Philosopher King’ where the heavier side of the band makes an impact. Polished sounds battle with monstrous growling in ‘Here Comes the Winner’ while ‘Betrayed by the Game’ is all about the melody, packing a punch in a short space of time.

A guitar solo and double pedal drums open ‘Chocolate Jackalope’, Pearson’s vocals entirely contrasting with the heavier elements of the music. At times you could pick up his singing and put it in a pop song and it would really, really work. There’s even a sneaky reference to Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ in there, cementing the band’s “experimental” label.

‘Man of the Year’ casts all rules aside, an epic five and a half-minute journey through everything that came before. A summary of the album, it pushes the boundaries of where a band can go in just one song. It’s certainly not easy listening but there’s a reason for the band’s longevity: this is just another string in their bow. Kathryn Black