The New York band has moved out of the cold water loft into the plush club. Improvisation has made space for ambient Electronica and East Asian percussion. Don’t be fooled, they still rock.
With ‘Saint Dymphna’, Gang Gang Dance morph from a bunch of abrasive Brooklyn art rockers playing for hyper-active hipsters into something resembling Bjork fused with the Afro Celt Soundsystem.
Don’t get me wrong, this is no half-arsed attempt by a ‘difficult’ band to go commercial. Gang Gang Dance sound still clued in and they are also still pretty intense.
Listening to ‘Saint Dymphna’, there is an atmosphere as if the band could have just as easy chucked their instruments at each other and called the whole ambient World Music thing off. That particular tension only contributes to the fun. Incidentally, Saint Dymphna is the patron saint of those suffering of mental illness and nervous disorders. Nice choice.
If you never heard Gang Gang Dance before, you have to watch the video below. This is the band in top form, doing their improvised, melancholic drone rock. Think My Bloody Valentine meets Sonic Youth. Once you’ve watched (even just for a few seconds), read on.
Watch Gang Gang Dance Perform Live
Now that we have a common starting point, listen to ‘Saint Dymphna’ below. Positively easy listening, right? Yes, but you don’t get that tightly-packed sound if you haven’t done the improvisation bit ad nauseam beforehand.
Listen Here To ‘Saint Dymphna’
Some of the standout tracks for me are the Bjork-meets-Afro-Funk of ‘First Communion’, the Space-Invaders-raid-Bollywood sound on ‘Vacuum’ and the Dubstep-goes-to-Indonesia percussion on ‘Inner Pace’.
Gang Gang Dance actually do use Dubstep flavours judiciously on the album. For best results, check out ‘Princes’ with MC Tinchy Stryder.
The most straightforward pop tune on ‘Saint Dymphna’ is ‘House Jam’ - A tightrope walk between plain cheesy and pleasantly weird. There’s also a sanitised remix, courtesy of Hot Chip, which straightens out the beats and applies a bit of European chic to the Brooklyn sounds of Gang Gang Dance.
If you want a bit more pedigree before you can enjoy ‘Saint Dymphna’, rest assured that Gang Gang Dance are one of those rare beasts straddling the music scene and the art world. The pre-’Saint Dymphna’ Gang Gang Dance provided a bit of rough, playing during the prestigious Whitney Biennial exhibition organised by New York’s Whitney Museum Of American Art earlier this year.
In art terms, ‘now’s the time to buy’ Gang Gang Dance before it all blows up (well, maybe…). Spice up your music collection.
UK and Ireland readers can download ‘Saint Dymphna’ here from iTunes UK.
US Readers - Buy Gang Gang Dance On CD Here (sorry, no vinyl at present)!
UK And Ireland Readers - Buy Gang Gang Dance On CD Or Vinyl Here!