I like just about everything Gang Gang Dance has done, though before a couple weeks ago, 2005’s God’s Money made me rave the most … kind of a long time to find more pay dirt. I got excited about some (though, not all) of the EP teasers that came in its wake, but they did ultimately feel like teasers, and not a jump to something else equally transcendent. Enter their excellent new album Saint Dymphna. It’s not as sprawling as some of their earlier work (which often reminded me of some giant rhythmic centipede or a kind of real-time collage), Lizzie Bougatsos’s vocal parts are often more obviously catchy or contained and less free-range, and there’s more variation between tracks (as well as guest rapper Tinchy Stryder, which makes sense, considering I’ve often though of keyboardist/remixer/etc. Brian DeGraw as some kinda avant Timbaland), but it works separately (there are true pop nuggets) and as a twisting-turning/percussive/spaced-out whole. The record builds from what they were doing in the past and then clarifies and tightens. Meaning: Dymphna should satisfy fans of the old and draw in people who’d been looking for more easily recognizable song structures in the past. See, for instance, one of the dreamier tracks, the appropriately titled “House Jam.”
Gang Gang Dance – “House Jam” (MP3)
GGD have always been masterful in concocting weirdo dance music (techno colliding with dub and drone, MBV smearing into Gamelan, Eno, and Punjabi music). This time around the party’s a bit less out there, but all those ingredients remain and the trio maintain their unique approach to compositional deconstruction. One of my favorite albums of the year by one of the most exciting bands/entities working.
Saint Dymphna is out 10/21 via The Social Registry.
[Photo by Josh Wildman]