Dance Gavin Dance are back with their eighth studio album Artificial Selection and it seems the boys are getting bit more creative yet still make it hard to distinguish between albums. The harsh, heavy vocals of Jon Mess and Will Swan are still present while the clean, pop-ish vocals of Tilion Pearson are definitely front and centre for the most of this album. Its sometimes hard to tell if this is a rock band or a pop band with some fusion from Sacramento, California.
From the pop vibes starting off the album in ‘Son of Robot’ to the sudden System Of A Down-esque change to heavy and deep, it was clear to see this album was going to be nothing but chaos and mayhem as Dance Gavin Dance takes you on rollercoaster of sounds and emotions.
Most people would find the constant, sudden changes between heavy, rock and pop quite jarring yet, somehow, this band seems to transition flawlessly time and time again. Especially with their single track ‘Midnight Crusade’ has the rock start sounding similar to The Gaslight Anthem then switching into heavy for the verse and having that catchy hook in the chorus. This just shows that over the last decade, Mess, Swan, Pearson and with bassist Tim Feerick and drummer Matt Mingus have found the formula for something fun.
All this, however, does not excuse the fact that the album doesn’t really experiment further on what they’ve built before. This can be both great and not-so-great at the same time. Playing it safe for a new album means long time fans will instantly love it. Yet this also means that people who were in the fence with the band wanting to see what they bring out next will just find more of the same. For new fans, though, this is a great gateway into what the band has to offer.
Don’t let this put you off though. With tracks as insane as ‘Gospel Burnout’ and ‘The Rattler’, this album is completely “new fan” friendly and highly accessible. There’s tracks throughout the album for everyone. Want something heavy? Check out ‘The Rattler’. Want something catchy? Jump into ‘Suspended in this Disaster’. You will not be disappointed once you find the song that hits that sweet spot.
The album as a whole is a harmonious cacophony of different blends and each track brings a different member to the forefront. Pearson definitely reigns supreme throughout it all though you can hear that every member had their track that played to their strengths. A good example to this is ‘Bloodsucker’. Swan absolutely shreds some truly incredible riffs while putting his soul into his roaring vocals. Even on the consecutive listens, front to back, you’ll find that its hard to skip any track.
Artificial Selection is definitely an album to get if you’re a long time Dance Gavin Dance fan or are just looking for a new band to listen to. With less than a month to go until the album is available, its fair to be very hyped as, even though it sounds little to no different than their previous releases, it still a new, fresh and monstrous release.
You can pre-order your copy of ‘Artificial Selection’ out June 8 via Rise Records HERE!