It’s difficult to approach a Dance Gavin Dance album, and indeed a review, without bearing in mind the band’s ever-revolving line-up, which throughout their career has seen three different clean vocalists, with current singer Tilian Pearson now holding the title of the longest lasting forerunner in any of their formations. Things finally seem stable, consistent, and drama free, and this is one of the strongest qualities that shines through the band in them extending their invitation to us to join them on the ‘Mothership’.
The Sacramento troupe have since day one been regarded and looked up to as a quirky and eccentric member of the post-hardcore elite, an arguable detriment to them expanding and shaking off that “cult band” tag that gets thrown at them here and there, but ‘Mothership’ not only embraces that, but pulls the strengths scattered throughout their discography, hones in on them, and nurtures them into what may be their strongest record to date.
The Pearson and Jon Mess tag team effort is stronger than ever from the moment the curtains open with ‘Chucky Vs. The Giant Tortoise’, exchanging lines back and forth against a blended flurry of buzzsaw chords, fret board fluttering, and thundering percussion.
Following number ‘Young Robot’ lends from last year’s LP ‘Instant Gratification’ heavily, pleasing the more melody focused fans, and those partial to Will Swan‘s odd little hip-hop influenced verses will love the T-Pain-esque verse he brings to ‘Chocolate Jackalope’.
‘Philosopher King’ is another blistering highlight, and along with ‘Petting Zoo Justice’ stands as the heaviest offerings that come to us with ‘Mothership’.
Few bands can flirt between pop sensibilities and enter metalcore territory with a locomotive of sheer technical metal quite like Dance Gavin Dance, and this album proves in spades that they’ve mastered that swift change more seamlessly than ever before. It delivers the raw passion of debut ‘Downtown Battle Mountain’, the shifting experimentation of ‘Happiness’, the hook-laden likes of ‘Instant Gratification’, and channels it into what may be the crown jewel of the band’s career.
Now seven records deep, Dance Gavin Dance have never sounded more comfortable in their own skin and with their own identity as they do with ‘Mothership’. It’s a record that appeases fans throughout all eras of their career, whilst stepping up their game to a point where they could stand on bigger stages toe-to-toe with giants who’ve held careers for less than half the time that Dance Gavin Dance have been together for. We’ve been invited onto the ‘Mothership’, and we can’t wait to see where its next destination is.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)