Dance Gavin Dance - Mothership (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Dance Gavin Dance

Mothership (2016)

RISE


Dance Gavin Dance have finally put to bed the ghosts of vocalists past. Tilian Pearson (formerly Tides of Man) took some time but he's placed his own vocal stamp down with Mothership, their seventh LP. It's nothing groundbreaking discography-wise but factoring in their ever-revolving door of singers, it's nice to see the band find a distinct style moving forward with Pearson. Their best? Nope but definitely one that stands tall for shaking off the baggage that clung to DGD so tightly.

Firstly, if you want sick, progressive riffs then Will Swan delivers in spades. This is probably DGD's most guitar-elaborate and intricate record. Bursting with so many jazz, blues, post-rock and psych riffs at all angles -- like Omar Rodriguez (ATDI, The Mars Volta) on speed. Not to mention the incessant drive of Matt Mingus' drums -- pounding to say the least. They set the tone for the heavier, abrasive jams like "Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise" and the hardcore-styled "Philosopher King." When they rough it, they rough it so well. That said, most of Mothership caters to Pearson's silky-smooth voice. Examples would be "Young Robot", "Betrayed By The Game" and the catchier "Exposed" -- the latter feels more toned to his solo work. They let him flex out and stretch his cords seductively. Note: if you're a Jonny Craig fan like me and loved Downtown Battle Mountain, as a btw you should check out "Frozen One" which feels ripped off that album. 

The band places a lot of lulls in to let Pearson shine (another would be "Man of the Year") and it's clear that as great as their technicality/musicianship is, they're playing to his vocal strengths. There are some tracks that run weary though and the middle of the album feels like filler. "Flossie Dickey Bounce" is a travesty with its auto-tuned jibes at cocaine falling flat so it'd be best if DGD start cutting down the tracks or mixing it up more like when Kurt Travis was there. Overall, not as diverse a record so points lost there, but definitely a move that gives this new iteration much more character. Also, major points to Sweden's Mattias Adolfsson for yet another sick album cover.  Eager to see where they proceed next.