The gentlemen of Dance Gavin Dance are back at it again a mere 10 months after the release of their self-titled album this past August. While it may create skepticism to the listener that it may have been ‘thrown together’ due to time constraints, the album shows nothing but progress from the band and exemplifies how much tighter they have grown as a unit even through all their line-up changes over the years. With a standout track list, “Tree Village,” “Don’t Tell Dave,” and “Strawberry Swisher Pt. 1” you will learn to be comfortable with the brand new approach to DGD.
The musicianship is nothing but phenomenal, and you can really tell that Kurt is finally comfortable singing in DGD. The beautiful leads and dance-y clean sections are to be found all over the record held together by the ever-so-wonderful drumming of Mr. Matt Mingus. While the bass has never been super prevalent in this band, if you listen closely to this record, you can tell Jason Ellis did a great job with writing his parts compared to the bassists on the past few records. They’re funky yet fit and really give the songs that extra ‘humph’ you might not even notice is there.
The biggest change that may take some people a little getting used to is that Jon Mess has left the ranks of the band, so their guitarist Will Swan has taken over the screaming duties. While many fans were not super fond of Jon’s vocals and may be instantly happy with the change, I for one was very happy with Jon’s performance as a screamer and the change of screaming was what worried me most on this record, but I should have never doubted the abilities of these men because Will’s vocals really pulled through on this record. With a deeper growl and more power behind his voice, it really drives the sections he’s screams in.
As for Kurt’s transition into the group: pure amazing. Kurt really sounds so much more comfortable on this record compared to Dance Gavin Dance. While I do still prefer their self-titled, Kurt’s voice is less strained, his melody lines fit a lot better and he’s really got a feel for the song writing this band does. From the heavy hitting single “Tree Village” to the smooth loving “Strawberry Swisher” series, Kurt has shown he really has mastered all elements of DGD’s style, and executes them flawlessly, even with the pseudo-sexist remarks (yet blatantly not meant to be taken that way) in “Strawberry Swisher Pt.1” which I got QUITE a kick out of.
Bringing a new feel and musicianship to the table on this record, Dance Gavin Dance took a chance at alienating some loyal fans looking for a particular sound from them. But, as any good DGD fan should know, they will just say ‘fuck you’ and do what they want, and it will probably work! And it did! Probably one of the best albums of 2009, definitely a great album to pick up.