Sound — 8
From the beginning of Dance Gavin Dance's legacy they have always been able to express each of their individual musician's skills and style, allowing it to soar. "Mothership" is no exception.
Tilian comes back with a bang on this record. This time around you can hear the excitement more in his voice. It's almost as if he felt "THIS is what I've been aiming for, guys." He seems to be much more comfortable in the band this time around compared to when he first started. He really plants his roots on all of these songs well, thus making them an even greater band.
With Tilian being their third singer, the band still manages to come out with good material. His vocals combined with the edge of Will's guitar in songs like "Deception," can really take me back to when I first heard "Downtown Battle Mountain." The strange melody with thunder like drums can take you places. They even manage to keep their funk in songs like "Funky Dickey Bounce" where Jon Mess even shows his screaming vocals can really roar. Not that I was never a Jon Mess fan, but his vocals have really improved and it seems like he really is in his prime as a vocalist.
With post hardcore groove, to the old experimental guitar driven grit, it's hard for Dance Gavin Dance to disappoint this time around. The sound overall seems to have mixture of the new stuff, but some of it can remind me of an early DGD. Maybe a new age DGD.
Some listeners (especially older ones) might find the album might have to grow on them a little getting lost in this newer sound of theirs. But no matter what age of the band you prefer, this album doesn't disappoint. The fact the band seems to always maintain interest in all aspects for so long and constantly change singers, they still manage to set the bar.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics have always been pretty interesting throughout the bands career. Through each singer that has grabbed the microphone, there have been all different styles and dynamics to their wordplay.
Mess still manages to have is absurd lines here and there, but they suit the song well in their own weird way, as usual. The thing that impresses me about Mess the most is he always seems to know just when to come in on a drop or a epic guitar jam. His vocals can sound so climactic and sometimes sad in songs like "Betrayed by the Game." And as I said before, he seems to be in his prime.
Tillian nails this record. We hear a part of Tides of Man in his lyrics that feels as if Dance Gavin had to unlock in him. As simple as "Young enough to feel this" can be, just those words themselves are enough to bind the other instruments together to actually make one feel "young enough to feel this." Almost as if we can see where the band was trying to take us by saying those words. Tilian has managed to speak more broad and confident in his lyricism this time around.
All in all, it's what you expect from DDG if not more. Each album seems to have its own style and the lyrics and wordplay on this one seems to create just that.
Overall Impression — 9
Since "Acceptance Speech"'s release, DGD for a little bit felt as if they were falling out of the element that made them so great. They were almost beginning to sound like your other typical experimental post hardcore bands. But after hearing this album, I can truly saw they have grown so much as a band. Since Tilian's initial arrival, the band actually seems to understand just who they are for the first time. "Deception" can bring you back to "Downtown Battle Mountain" days and resurrect the meaning of Dance Gavin's dark melodies. "Chocolate Jackalope" soars with emotion making me feel like a kid again. "Inspire the Liars" and "Man of the Year" is enough to make you never doubt Tilian as a singer ever again.
On a quick note, Chris Krummett as usual, did an amazing job producing the album and bringing out each of the instruments in their entirety. Especially with a band like DGD where there's always a lot going on, each instrument seems to still keep all of its glory. Just like the previous works. I'm a big fan of his work, but he can really be as fundamental for them as any guitar note you've ever heard blare through your speakers.
In a nutshell, the only thing I can complain about is the album might feel a little overwhelming and might have to grow on some a little. At least in comparison to some of the older stuff, but it's very much worth it. Dance Gavin Dance still shows us what a band can really accomplish when you have amazing chemistry. Since 2004, they still manage to write great material, regardless of the singer replacements, and stylistic changes here and there. They always come out shining as a team. "Mothership" still brings the punch, funk, and everything else you could like about Dance Gavin Dance. I strongly recommend it for the ones who still miss Jonny and even fell off the band a little. The album continues to take me back to my days of driving on the highway blasting their stuff and at the same time, does so much more. It's so good to see a great band still doing there thing. And doing it very well.