When it comes to the relationship between modern rock and the, shall we say, “generationally advanced”, the stereotypical response is that “it’s just noise”. And because of the existence of bands like Swans or Neurosis, such opinions aren’t completely unfounded, but there’s more of a defensiveness within wider reaching scenes to prove their artists’ worth. Which brings us to Dance Gavin Dance, everyone’s favourite post-hardcore punchbag that haven’t exactly helped themselves in the past with their inability to hold a vocalist. But that’s not the problem with their newest album ‘Mothership’, an album that, for all previous assertions, is just noise.
In fact, the vocals are probably the best thing about this album. Tilian Pearson has the same helium tone as his fellow scenesters that does have some presence, and while Jon Mess’s screams aren’t anything novel, they do their job well. No, the problem is literally everything else. This is one of the loudest, messiest and most obnoxious albums you’re likely to hear this year; an album that seemingly revels in the fact that it’s pretty much a trainwreck from start to finish, given that effort has clearly been put in here.
But all the effort in the world can’t save ‘Mothership’, especially when you’ve got tracks like ‘Frozen One’ and ‘Petting Zoo Justice’ that can’t latch onto a hook or instrumental melody to save their lives. Even on tracks like ‘Philosopher King’ or ‘Chocolate Jackalope’ (yep, really) where the technical guitar work can be somewhat admired, the whole thing feels so sugary and blaringly neon-coloured that it ends as appealing as radioactive waste.
To put it at its simplest, ‘Mothership’ is not a good album in the slightest. For all of their attempts at virtuosic skill and obtuse polyrhythms, all Dance Gavin Dance come out with is a barrage of discordant sounds hitting the listenr at once. Forget any sort of payoff, the only thing you’ll leave this album with is a splitting headache.
‘Mothership’ by Dance Gavin Dance is released on October 7th on Rise Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)