I’ve awaited new Dance Gavin Dance tracks with an uneasy anticipation. Though most would agree that 2007’s Downtown Battle Mountain was a formative record for many singer/screamer tandems today, things have changed in the last four years. What was once an huge sub-genre has turned into a cliche joke, with imitators polluting an already saturated scene. With Downtown Battle Mountain II, the re-united original DGD line-up will attempt to breathe life into the music one last time, starting with today’s release of “Heat Seeking Ghost Of Sex.”
Right our of the gate, we get a riff with that signature spring of Will Swan, now the group’s only guitarist. As expected, the guitar work plays like DBM in feel, though with a shot of listenability to make for some catchy licks. Screamer Jon Mess comes in seconds later with a hectic melody, even by his standards; rather than the deep bark from his last two albums, his screams are much higher pitched.
The song sways towards radio as soon as clean vocalist Jonny Craig swoops in. He effortlessly floats across a surprisingly commercial chorus, staying in a lower register reminiscent of his Ghost Runner On Third days. The man’s signature strain is reserved for only a few notes here and there, a balance he used to fans’ dismay on the latest Emarosa release. Craig has shown growth over the years, picking his spots and heightening the impact when he chooses to belt it. His largest downfall on this track are shoddy lyrics that are highly repetitive (I can imagine Jason Tate nodding in agreement).
Mess and Craig take turns in the spotlight until the song’s breakdown, where we get a surprise. Swan, who made his DGD vocal debut via screams on Happiness and a short rap on “Powder To The People,” returns to the mic to flow on top of Mess’ backing screams for one of the most original breakdowns I’ve heard in some time. It hits hard in a fun way. Just like that, we’re back to Jonny, who wraps up the package nicely.
It seems the initial response to “Heat Seeking Ghost Of Sex” has been negative (or at least that’s how it feels over at AP.net). Those who still bemoan guitarist Zac Garren and vocalist Kurt Travis’ departures will miss the progressive/experimental elements from Happiness, but those who look past the changes should find a quality track. Now if this proves to be the best song from DBMII, expect angry mobs to rush the stage at Warped; if the track proves to be a solid addition to a strong album, expect excited mobs to rush the stage at Warped.