Party In The Paddock. Ricky Ponting. Cascade beers. The humble Apple Isle has gifted us …
Artificial Selection is the most accessible album from Dance Gavin Dance, but don’t let that throw you off. Amongst the stadium-worthy hooks and rollercoaster melodies sits a jungle of brutality; a wall-to-wall battering of earthquake riffs and solos so technical their analysis might just be the most effective way to induce a migraine (and that’s not even taking into account all the spine-tingling electronic tinges sprinkled throughout). If 2016’s Mothership took their pop-meets-math inclinations to the extreme, LP8 revolutionises that extreme.
Instantly notable is that there’s no true show-stealer on Artificial Selection—every member of the Sarcamento mosh outfit has their moment in the spotlight, each bringing something unique and exciting to the table. Especially on cuts like Bloodsucker and the unrelenting opener Son Of Robot (a crunch-heavy reboot to the decade-spanning series), guitarist Will Swan goes above and beyond with his axe, spewing a waterfall of tight nodes that weave magically with Tim Feerick’s sexy bass and the blink-n-miss-em drum fills from double-kick debonair Matt Mingus.
Clean singer Tilian Pearson sounds a little rusty at times, but his soulful hum and glittery high notes more than make up for the occasional overdose of vocal grain. On roar duties, though, Jon Mess is persistently vicious—just thinking about the guttural chaos on The Rattler makes our throats hurt, his unforgiving bellows the musical equivalent of a death scene in a Saw movie.
Dance Gavin Dance are a very well-oiled machine now, and this record is definitive proof.
And though Swan told us the album was their least collaborative in the studio (keep an eye out for our interview in the coming days), every instrument at play gels perfectly with one another. It seems the band have finally reached a harmony in their structure; their first stack of releases made them infamous for lineup troubles, but Artificial Selection is their third outing with the quintet you see above, and such consistency has undoubtedly paid off here. Dance Gavin Dance are a very well-oiled machine now, and this record is definitive proof.
Of course, Artificial Selection won’t make any new fans out of Dance Gavin Dance’s established haterbase. It’s largely uninspired as far as creative evolution is concerned, but when you’ve got a formula as unfuckwithable as they have, why would you pick it apart? These guys know what they do well, and on Artificial Selection, they do it even better. So long as they bring it to Australian stages sometime soon, we’ve got no real complaints to throw.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Son Of Robot, Gospel Burnout, Slouch
STICK THIS NEXT TO: At The Drive-In, Underoath, three-day LSD/Futurama benders