When you’re a fifth or sixth generation “emo” band you have to do something pretty special to avoid a scathing review from someone who is well and truly fed up with bands dropping the E string to a D, throwing in some screams and shouts and chucking in a beatdown or two for good measure. It’s boring, been done to death and sounds very, very tired. Dance Gavin Dance have tried to mix things up my throwing in elements of a band like Underoath with the cute-ness of Circa Survive. There’s the sheer brutality of the guitars and the screams, but there are little distinct elements, such as the beginning of ‘NASA’ which is really fun.
I can’t get over the fact, however, that DGD are simply rehashing what many other bands have already done. I’d probably like ‘Happiness’ a hell of a lot more if they ditched the screaming entirely. ‘Carl Barker’ sounds stunning until the heavier vocals come in and ruin it. Ditto ‘Don’t Tell Dave’. It’s almost as though Dance Gavin Dance suddenly have some kind of mental aberration and want to ruin every good idea they have with some generic shouting.
There are some genuinely exciting moments on this record and some inventive musicianship. It’s just ruined by some bog-standard screaming and ideas that should have been left in 2004. A great shame as there’s plenty of promise on show.