Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Certified Banger #4

Much has been made about the title of Gang Gang Dance's follow up of 2003's remarkable God's Money. Saint Dymphna refers to the Catholic Saint of mental illness, and therefore much has been said about the themes present in the new LP. Fans and critics have pointed to the sometimes nervous and alienating feeling that underscores much of this rhythmic and very danceable record. Gang Gang Dance has been compared to fellow experimental pop act Animal Collective since the release of God's Money, but it is on this album that the comparison becomes clearly evident. It's not the actual sound of the music that brings about this comparision, although it does share some striking similarities, but, rather, it is more the ability of Gang Gang Dance to make a record that is so clearly a pop record while still remaining pointedly experimental. The album is built on a number of different musical influences, including shoegaze, raggaeton, different aspects of hip hop and grime and experimental electronics. What is striking about this album is how Gang Gang Dance is able to reinterpret these influences and build songs around these reinterpretations layered on top of each other which in turn simultaneously creates a beautiful drone like structure to the entire album with flourishes of playful and interesting guitar riffs, piercing synths, raps, found sound, and a variety of genre jumping beats throughout.

The standout track on the album comes in the form of a 4:13 instrumental track entitled "Vacuum". The track starts off slowly, building on gorgeous and churning Loveless-era guitar work, interrupted only sporadically by throbbing lazer-like synths. A minute into the track the heavy percussion really kicks in, with tumbling cymbal crashes and machine gun style drumming that help to create a sense of constant building and the subsequent collapsing in on itself. The throbbing lazer-like synths and other menacing and ominous sounds found near the half way mark of the track help to break up the drone of the track and create a clear song arc. I don't know what else can be said about this track; it's just a beautiful and engulfing song that demands repeated listens to pick up on all of the subtlety placed sounds and rhythms.

As always, check the side bar for the track. ----------------->

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