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Is this cause for panic amongst the GGD fan base? Hopefully not. While this one certainly is as smooth as a whale's tail, the spacey feel is closer to Cocteau Twins than Enya or Moby. And it's still inimitably, unabashedly, a Gang Gang Dance creation. As with past albums, percussion still takes precedence here, so "Eye Contact" is not some dippy trance mix; it has some great rhythms, from the crashing dubstep of "MindKilla" to the skittering "Sacer" to the thunderous stomp of "Thru and Thru." And Lizzie Bougastos is as colorful a vocalist as ever, turning "Adult Goth" into a stoner-friendly Bollywood anthem. That may sound silly, but the song's beauty and emotional heft totally transcend any campy trappings such a reference might hold. Such is the power of Gang Gang Dance.
The seamless synthetic approach to the album's production does give "Eye Contact" a deceptive feeling of sameness, not to mention of fluffy superficiality. Subsequent listens, however, reveal the character behind each song. Admittedly, I was initially underwhelmed, but now I can't get enough. Similar to Stereolab's "Dot and Loops," an impressive and ambitious album eventually comes out of hiding. Just give it a chance, let it get to know you.
The opening track, "Glass Jar", one of the best of the album, is also one of the most moving tracks you'll hear this year. It's over 11 minutes but it doesn't seem nearly that long. The synths and some gentle percussion keep things moving, setting the mood for about 3 1/2 minutes before it just blooms open into a spectacular excercise in some primal sounding drums. The final 5 minutes features vocalist Lizzi Bougatsos, who sings in a style that combines Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins) and Kate Bush. The repeating, buzzing synth line in this portion of the song is outstanding. "Chinese High" has a strong '80s flavor to it, especially the sunny, final 75 seconds on the track. The band hits all the right notes on that one. I'm wondering if anyone who's a fan of indie/progressive music didn't have "Mindkilla" in their party mix playlists this year. This is a song that sounds like an updated version of music Talking Heads/David Byrne might have made in the '80s, with it's jumpy, bouncy beat and catchy chorus and an air raid siren finish. "Sacer" opens up with some head-nodding drums before the synths join in and Bougatsos' wonderful vocals take over. There's a great chorus and a stirring guitar line to accompany it on this track. There are a few shorter interlude pieces which are also interesting and fit well into the album as a whole. A lot of the tracks run into each other in a continuous stream.Read more ›
I wouldn't describe it is similar to either of those Panda Bear albums in terms of sound - but I still love this album. It's far more up tempo and beat driven, but I suppose the vocals have a haunted, wavering quality like Person Pitch (or Youth Lagoon's Hibernation) does.
On "Eye Contact", Gang Gang Dance have proven that they are willing to grow, willing to adapt, and not afraid to show not only their experimental side but even their pop-sense of songcraft and writing. The synths swirl and the guitar jabs guide you up and down the stairway of psychedelic noise. There is a clear focus to this album, perhaps more focused than their previous albums have been. And just like how a little focus worked wonders for Pink Floyd (who went from the messy "Obscured by Clouds" to the monumental "Dark Side of the Moon"), it works to this band's favor.
They now have direction, a target to aim their experimental weapons toward. It's not commercial by any means at all but the music they made here is easier to fall into than previous attempts, easier to grasp and more than anything, easier to see how talented this bunch really is. The care that went into this album bleeds through the veins of each song; these are clearly musicians who love making this music as much as they love letting us explore it.
What really makes this album interesting though, aside from what potential promises it makes for the future, is that the blend of experimentation and accessibility is so evenly scaled. Those two elements really co-exist in such a hyper-dynamic way on this record--If you pay attention to one half, the other catches you off guard. It's two opposites working to create one perfect whole. Even if Gang Gang Dance release their magnum opus--I will still return to this album for that reason, this is the sound of a band at a very unique creative epoch, an era that I, humble listener, am proud to be a part of.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've been following these guys since Saint Dymphna, and they've been very talented ever since then. And the vocals on this thing, they just make me smile, I dunno why.Published on June 1, 2013 by Mikey
Slow undulations amid plush cushions and luxurious carpets. Heavy shades cast long shadows over clusters of nubile dancers, their movements heavy with forbidden suggestion. Read morePublished on April 2, 2012 by Hbar
eye contact was my introduction to gang gang dance and what an introduction it was. the vinyl has some of the coolest artwork of any album that ive ever seen and the music is... Read morePublished on November 26, 2011 by thekid
I have heard a few Gang Gang Dance songs before and was super excited for the new album. Listening to Eye Contact from start to finish is an experience that immerses you in a... Read morePublished on May 15, 2011 by Music experimenter