Downtown Battle Mountain II review by Dance Gavin Dance

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  • Released: Mar 8, 2011
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (48 votes)
Dance Gavin Dance: Downtown Battle Mountain II

Sound — 9
The sound of this album is comparable, oddly, equally to Fall Out Boy, Chiodos, and The Mars Volta. The record does pretty much whatever the hell it wants to, in the greatest possible way. The impossible guitar licks, the soulful/enraged dual vocals, and nothing less that incredible rhythm section make up for one amazing album. I don't think many people have heard something like this, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Songs like "Thug City," "Pounce Bounce," and "The Robot With Human Hair 2 1/2" are the most incredible, when they exemplify the ability of the band to create some amazing faux-math rock riffs (the most technical must be "Need Money," whose breakdown and wah-soaked bridge bring goosebumps), with spastic and humorous lyrics and outstanding delivery. But the album isn't just straightforward rock, or post-hardcore. The lush, Hendrix-esque balladry seen on "Blue Dream" is definitely not to be missed, as well as psychedelic breakdowns, bordering on King Crimson meets Zeppelin territory can be found throughout, especially on "The Robot With Human Hair 2 1/2."

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on the album are something, yet again, like Fall Out Boy or The Mars Volta. They make absolutely no sense most of the time, but aren't supposed to. The screams of Jon Mess in "Thug City" declaring "I'm lethally overdosed on pumpkin pie, yeah, the future is Mt. Delicious, son!" are hilarious, but when Jonny Craig comes in, almost under the radar at first, with "Feel the room filling up with smoke, billowing, billowing up, holding on for the worst, rise above" really give the songs an ethereal and emotional overtone which balance each other perfectly. As far as singing ability? I don't think anyone on the scene can touch Jonny Craig. His soul influenced voice definitely shows out as a high point on "Downtown Battle Mountain II." On "Blue Dream" or "Elder Goose," he definitely draws from a similar place as Patrick Stump on an great day.

Overall Impression — 10
I really think this is one of the best albums of the year, and to that point, the highest point of Dance Gavin Dance's current discography. I never listened to music with much screamed vocals as this before now, but if you are looking into finding really good post-hardcore music, look no further.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Bjorney wrote: Huge step backwards for this band
    Your face is a huge step backwards.
    I understand a lot of people like them, and how "messy and beautiful" they are, but...Well I never really got them. I will probably pick this album up to give them another try, since they switch members so often, and it has gotten good reviews. But just keep in mind - being messy and original doesn't mean you're any good. It just means you're different. Not everyone pulls it off as well as Picasso (Dunno if I spelled that right).
    Indie Purist
    I dig every single record of theirs, it just takes time. Deathstar and this one are slightly favored, though.
    idk wat some of u guys r talking about how theyve stepped back...always hav ppls comments on every review, but honestly they hav gotten much btr