Sound — 9
"Gimme that canvas let me paint some shit / Pass me some poison let me take a hit," Tilian Pearson wails this in lead single, "Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise," which also happens to be the first song off the new Dance Gavin Dance album. For a solid month, this is a taste of the first single. It may not serve as an outstanding most memorable song on the album, but it's also what we've come to expect from the band with the way Will Swan riffs out some of the oddest chord shapes in history, reminiscent to jazz chords, but also having his own style in what most people nowadays have coined the term "swancore." If you have no idea what the term "swancore" is then chances are you haven't been following post-hardcore music whatsoever lately.
I'm not sure how bands of this nature are received on this site, but I would take it that most people write them off as "garbage" or "Risecore" like they do with bands such Pierce The Veil. What I don't get is Dance Gavin Dance is highly influenced by bands such as Saosin, The Fall Of Troy and Coheed And Cambria, and all of those bands are well received here. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's just like everywhere else where the fans are divided because they've had two other lead vocalists. You have the original lineup where everyone seems to enjoy Kurt Travis more than ever (sorry, not into him), you have the more soulful type fans for Jonny Craig (honestly, he's a great vocalist, but once you hear a song from him then you've heard it all), and you have the new lineup with Tilian Pearson fans like myself more accepting of a high pitched vocal. The dude has a killer range, for starters. Take tracks such as "Deception" starting out with Tilian harmonizing "ooo ahh ooo ahh ooo's."
"Inspire the Liars" and "Man of the Year" take quite a bit of inspiration from Saosin and Circa Survive's very own Anthony Green, and "Exposed" takes the song to a more laid back poppy direction without any of Jon Mess' (unclean vocalist) vocals. As a guitar player, there is just too much to highlight about Will Swan's playing here. From the quick pull offs towards the middle of "Frozen One," to the heavy drop D riffage in the beginning of "Petting Zoo Justice" (both Jon and Matt, their drummer shine real well here too) to the bouncy riffage of "Chocolate Jackalope" (I can see this one being a crowd favorite) he is just an all around talented guy who was born with this skill. And not only that, but his girlfriend also plays the flute in the intro of third single, titled "Young Robot."
Lyrics — 8
As every DGD fan should come to expect their lyrics are almost always silly, especially when Jon screams. Take "Flossie Dickey Bounce," for example with him yelling "Cocaine cringe fest." It may sound fun for some people, but this is the one song I skip every time. Again, it's just the lyrics to whatever Jon screams that throw me off a bit. "Deception" is another song where he gets silly, but at least the lyrics fit along well:
"Half wrapped in a leopard print sex swing
The beat is shit and I'm 'bout to make a new slang
If your momma was a bed of kites then we could fly away
And fuck this night right"
There're several other songs that make zero sense, but the parts that I really enjoy come from Tilian. I'm not sure if Jon writes all of the lyrics, but he really is a wordsmith. Lead single, "Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise" have the perfect lines for Tilian to sing.
"Don't close your eyes tonight
Perfect melodies are hard to find
I got a feeling we can touch the sky
Let's live in this delusion that we don't live in perpetual confusion and there's meaning to our lives"
It's not until the second single, titled "Betrayed by the Game" where the lyrics are simple during the chorus yet hit home:
"I just crashed my car
And it got me thinking of you
So I just thought I'd call
To tell you, to tell you I, to tell you I still love you"
Not only that, buy Jon follows up with:
"My mental image impaired
Undid the braids in my hair
I rain destruction in the fight of my inner feels
Remove the tricks of the trade
You're just alone on the stage
There's no witness fly your soul"
Overall Impression — 9
So there you have it, another year, another new DGD album full of 13 songs that they somehow wrote in a year and a half since the 12 track album, titled "Instant Gratification." Where do I stand on this album in a ranking? Well, it could quite possibly beat "IG," or be a near tie. All I know is I really enjoy the new era they have with Tilian Pearson and this is one of my favorite albums to have come out this year. Their live shows are really fun, and everyone goes crazy (just saw them finally for the first time recently). Anyone who writes them off simply because they're signed with Rise Records is completely ignorant. The Swancore movement is here to stay, and I don't see it leaving anytime soon with how popular the Swanposting group on Facebook is. Give these guys a go if you already haven't. You will at least be blown away by Will Swan's mastermind of guitar shredding.