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Dance Gavin Dance - Downtown Battle Mountain... Album Cover

Dance Gavin Dance - Downtown Battle Mountain...

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6.2
Dance Gavin DanceDowntown Battle Mountain II
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Dance Gavin Dance are a prolific experimental post-hardcore band that was founded in Sacramento, California in 2006. Their 2007 full-length debut Downtown Battle Mountain earned the band recognition for its dexterous guitar work, abundant energy, and the soulful vocals of frontman Jonny Craig. Four years, countless lineup changes, and several albums later, Dance Gavin Dance is back at it with Downtown Battle Mountain II, their first effort since 2007’s debut to boast the mercurial Craig, who spent the last several years fronting post-hardcore outfit Emarosa. Although the prospect of another Downtown Battle Mountain will excite many Dance Gavin Dance diehards, the results of the lineup reunification are disappointing, as Downtown Battle Mountain II sounds unimaginative and rehashed, the product of a band pleased to rest on its laurels rather than explore the unchartered territory they touched upon in recent releases.

“Spooks” sets the pace for Downtown Battle Mountain II and serves as one of the album’s stronger tracks, immediately thrusting screamer Jon Mess’ grating bark and guitarist Will Swan’s impressive noodling to the forefront. Craig comes into his own towards the end of the song, exclaiming “And I know the lonely road it takes to get there/And I only feel it now because I've been there” in one of the few poignant lyrical moments on the album. Unfortunately, most songs on Downtown Battle Mountain II are dominated by Jon Mess’ harsh delivery and completely ridiculous lyrics in place of Craig’s sweet serenade. “Pounce Bounce” features one of Mess’ more introspective moments as he ponders, “What's it like to be a marble?/Did I get something in your eye?/She's a referee, and I'm lethally overdosed on pumpkin pie.” Not to be outdone in “Thug City,” Mess comments on the perils of a nagging relationship, lamenting “First it's the casting call, but I'm playing basketball/My wife she notifies that I missed a call on my phone/Now why are you snooping, when you should be cooking/If you read my texts one more time…!”

Perhaps more disturbing than their overreliance on Mess’ talents is that Dance Gavin Dance is content to follow a repetitive song-writing formula that taints the majority of the tracks on the record. Typically, Mess, supported by a smattering of frantic instrumentation, will spit gibberish for a verse of seven or eight lines before yielding to an abrupt and forced transition to Craig’s drawn out bellow and a sampling of dreamy guitar work. “Heat Seeking Ghost of Sex”, “Swan Soup”, and the aforementioned “Thug City” are the most egregious offenders but this worn method is apparent throughout Downtown Battle Mountain II. What’s more, the formulaic song arrangements shamefully hide the technically proficient and strikingly pleasant guitar work of Swan, a founding member and mainstay on each of the band’s four full-lengths. “Need Money” is one of the fresher sounding songs on the album, mostly due to wide array of progressive guitar work employed by Swan, as he melds parts that recall The Mars Volta with a bluesy riff that would not be out of place on a Queens of the Stone Age album.

Despite Swan’s inventive fretwork, Downtown Battle Mountain II profiles as a forgettable album held back by the presence of Mess and an overall lack of inventiveness. The band would do well to review their earlier work for creative inspiration, most notably 2008’s Untitled and its follow-up Happiness, albums that sounded unique and diverse while still maintaining consistent and identifiable elements. As it stands, Dance Gavin Dance needs to consider evolving or they run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

Recommended If You LikeDance Gavin Dance - Downtown Battle Mountain; Closure In Moscow; Emarosa


http://www.myspace.com/dancegavindance
This review is a user submitted review from Nick Gerli. You can see all of Nick Gerli's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 23
11:21 AM on 07/03/11
#2
JamesBond
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once you added Happiness in the last paragraph I was forced to discredit your whole view.
11:30 AM on 07/03/11
#3
incognitojones
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Mess > Craig
11:31 AM on 07/03/11
#4
PetitnaindesÎles
Kaneki-kun, BON APPÉTIT
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once you added Happiness in the last paragraph I was forced to discredit your whole view.
Why ?
12:57 PM on 07/03/11
#5
x Royal Ocean x
Cameron
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happiness was their best work. I consider this their "joke" abum. there nothing apealing about it
01:16 PM on 07/03/11
#6
DeviateRogue
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Overtly harsh review, the reviewer acts as if their lyrical content has been any different, which it hasn't.

..And he left out the best tracks, well besides Spooks of course, "Blue Dream", "The Robot With Human hair Pt 2 1/2" and "Purple Reign" are some of the most redeeming tracks, and honestly every song on this album is listenable, those are just the stand outs.
01:47 PM on 07/03/11
#7
TenSpeed
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I think i disagree with everything you said.
02:51 PM on 07/03/11
#8
defmytones
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Happiness >DTBMII, but both are very solid efforts in my opinion.
03:44 PM on 07/03/11
#9
TestwoodRapier
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I posted my thoughts on this album here:
http://testwood.tumblr.com/post/6520...le-mountain-ii
04:20 PM on 07/03/11
therookielot
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I think i disagree with everything you said.
Luckily music is subjective and he's entitled to his own opinion to the record regardless of if someone agrees with him or not. If you don't like it, write your own review. I thought it was well written and extremely accurate.
08:28 PM on 07/03/11
xRinox
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once you added Happiness in the last paragraph I was forced to discredit your whole view.
I do believe these guys have a massive amount of talent and skill, but letting Kurt go made them ignore all the new paths they could choose to continue their natural evolution. This is, obviously, because art doesn't pay the bills; and they choose to stay, at least for an album, playing safe and getting some money, which is understandable to a certain point.
For me, Happiness is way ahead from everything they released previously, followed by DBM I, WISIRO EP, then their S/T, I'd have to put this in last place, because I really haven't spinned it after the five times I gave it a chance.
I totally agree with the reviewer, I could even say he expreses my thoughts exactly. The guys are good, this record is just too rushed and safe played.
08:42 PM on 07/03/11
brandon_260
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I dig the album. Not as much as the Deathstar Album, but more than anything else they have released.
12:59 PM on 07/04/11
circasurprise90
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interesting.. this is one of my favorites by them.
12:58 AM on 07/05/11
Nick Gerli
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I do believe these guys have a massive amount of talent and skill, but letting Kurt go made them ignore all the new paths they could choose to continue their natural evolution. This is, obviously, because art doesn't pay the bills; and they choose to stay, at least for an album, playing safe and getting some money, which is understandable to a certain point.
For me, Happiness is way ahead from everything they released previously, followed by DBM I, WISIRO EP, then their S/T, I'd have to put this in last place, because I really haven't spinned it after the five times I gave it a chance.
I totally agree with the reviewer, I could even say he expreses my thoughts exactly. The guys are good, this record is just too rushed and safe played.
Good point. It seems like Craig has sapped the inventiveness of the last couple albums. It's just a DMB re-tread, if the album name is any indication.
12:22 PM on 07/05/11
DeviateRogue
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Good point. It seems like Craig has sapped the inventiveness of the last couple albums. It's just a DMB re-tread, if the album name is any indication.
I really think this is a common misconception, besides the fact that A.) Craig is back in the band, and B.) It's name is Downtown Battle Mountain 2, the album really isn't all that similar to the first AT ALL. Seriously, listen to them back to back.

Regardless I feel as DGD has a really deviated fan base, some hunger for the kurt era, others the Jonny coin, I prefer all of their albums tho, IF I had to pick a worst it'd be Happiness, but that's not saying much since I love them all. That being said, S/T all the way!

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