This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
White Noise: Gang Gang Dance – Saint Dymphna

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Gang Gang Dance – Saint Dymphna

Gang Gang Dance have come a long way from their super-experimental tribal noise that they played in the backrooms of Brooklyn. After the expected transitional LP 'God's Money' (which is well worth checking out), in this album for the first time the band have really stripped the haze away and come out with something original, shimmering and, well, dancey.

Album opener Bebey begins with a good 40 seconds or so of a whirring noise getting slowly faster and faster before dissipating into an electronic tumbling synth that itself turns into a strong, tribal beat. Then the harsh synths kick in, the pan-pipe-ish melodies, and then at the end you get everything together at the same time. It sounds like it shouldn't work, but the track is absolutely brilliant and sets the sound for the rest of the album perfectly. This band bring in so many different sounds and genres into their music that its almost impossible to see it working, but each time they pull it off with style. The trick up their sleeve is that in the midst of all of this noise there is a skilled hand exhibiting a remarkable degree of restraint, no sound is extraneous and there is a pure, unadulterated joy to their music which isn't often equalled.

The album plays less as individual songs and more as tracks that flow in and out of one another, which for the most part works really well. The transition from Bebey to First Communion is masterly, with all the accumulated noise of the first track compressed into a pressure that just shimmers out of existence to make way for the next. And First Communion itself is a great cut, Lizzie Bougatsos' yelping vocals, eccentric as they may seem, somehow tie together all the disparate sounds in this music, providing an anchor for the enormous range of synthed-up instruments and effects implemented across the album. In fact, the top half of the album goes from strength to unbelievable strength. First Communion disappears with one last cry into the harder beats of Blue Nile with its Asian twang and brain-crackling vocal drop that lays the track gloriously bare, and this song itself moves into the My Bloody Valentine-esque Vacuum which lays it on heavy but again, it just sounds so damn good. The combination between the almost spiritual tribal rhythms and the unashamed use of heavy, untreated synths is both surprising and consistently brilliant.

In the first four tracks this band show such astonishing range and are an absolute pleasure to listen to, combining a fascinating array of sounds with fantastic hooks and a new-found pop sensibility that's a first in a GGD record- it's almost too good to believe. And unfortunately, after this point the cracks start to show. Although Tinchy Stryder's turn in Princes is expertly produced (someone should get these guys to do some grime production for sure), his vocals are clearly a matter of taste, and after that the album doesn't quite pick back up where it left off.

The problem is, after all the excitement of the first few tracks, the majority of the rest feel much like filler. Inner Pace has some really interesting elements thrown in but the separate noises don't mesh particularly well, perhaps the track could do with some trimming. The next, Afoot again is fairly insubstantial, as much as Bougastos can chant about “A land where cows are sacred”, there is almost too much going on and it lacks the key balance that was perfected with seeming effortlessness in earlier tracks. However the listener is given a final reprieve after this with the album's standout track House Jam, in which GGD really go all out pop (their multi-ethnic, ADHD brand of pop anyway) to stellar effect, the track is an absolute delight and there's even a touch of genuine emotion in the final catchy refrain “Will the clouds carry my tears to you”. The remainder of the album is unfortunately more miss than hit, Desert Storm assails the ears in a way that is not wholly pleasant, and although album closer Dust is pretty, it isn't especially remarkable.

Gang Gang Dance take on such a mammoth task of infusing so much sound into these tracks, and its a remarkable display of their skill and restraint that they get so much right. But at the same time, the second half of the album is frustrating and leaves you wondering what would've happened if they'd kept up the quality.


Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home