Dance Gavin Dance - Dance Gavin Dance (Cover Artwork)

Dance Gavin Dance

Dance Gavin Dance (2008)


Dance Gavin Dance are back with a new album and new members. Gone are Jonny Craig and Sean O'Sullivan. Kurt Travis and Zac Garren now handle vocals and guitars, respectively. Also along for the ride on a few tracks are a slew of guest artists including members of the Deftones and Gatsbys American Dream.

The first thing that struck me while listening to DGD's self-titled album is how much stronger the tracks with guest vocalists are compared to the rest of the album. "Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most" continues to be my favorite cut off the album and features Nic Newsham of Gatsbys American Dream. The song is breezy, laid back, and easily the most accessible track on the album. Another strong track is "Rock Solid" featuring Matt Geise of Lower Definition. Starting off very angry, the opening gives way to a conversation between Geise and Travis ending with arguably DGD's best lyrical hook: "Raise your hand if the system has missed you, your money ain't gone as far as it used to." Chino Moreno of Deftones fame stops by to add some vocals to the chorus of "Caviar."

For as many tracks as DGD does right on their sophmore album, there are a few things holding this album back in my mind. First, lyrically some of the tracks are lacking. "Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most" contains an absolutely pointless bridge with lyrics that ramp the cheeziness factor up to 10. Second, some songs seem to meander away from their strong points. For example, "Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine" contains a fantastic chorus that is not used nearly enough and really shows the weakness of the rest of the song. The same is true of "Caviar," which features good guitar work and verses, but falters during the chorus and ultimately wastes Moreno's talents.

Also, I found the screaming of Jon Mess detracted a lot from many of the songs. His screaming is not nearly gutteral enough for me and comes across as weak sounding. My lack of enthusiasm for Mess's screaming style is probably what prevented me from enjoying tracks he dominates such as "Alex English" and "Hot Water on Wool."

Overall, Dance Gavin Dance has released a solid sophmore album with some really good tracks and some not-so-good tracks. If you are a fan of Fear Before (it pains me to type that horrendous name) and the like, you will most likely enjoy Dance Gavin Dance's self-titled sophmore effort.