Album Review

Eye Contact

Eye Contact

by Gang Gang Dance


4AD
8.2 / 10
4th April 2011

Reviewed by Kris Taylor


Gang Gang Dance are one of those bands that are hard to define, hard to describe. An always changing, always moving genre defying juggernaut of a band. They stand pretty much alone as the vanguards of a genre that is hard to pin down, mixing influences from the tribalist and percussive heavy, to R & B and hip hop, to experimental jazz and modern electronic music. And yet the nature of their music refuses to be defined by any one era and few genres.

On first listen Eye Contact’s scope and vision really blew me away. While I was familiar with their earlier work of years gone by, I wasn't at all prepared for what Gang Gang Dance were about to unleash. The album is at once unmistakably original, unmistakably the same band as 2004's Revival of the Shittest, while at the same time as new and exciting and boundary pushing as ever before.

The tracks certainly have a wide range. Album opener 'Glass Jar' (at a daunting 11 minutes and currently available to stream on their website) beautifully sets the tone for the entire album. From slow beginnings the track builds and evolves, as the percussion mounts and Lizzi Bougatsos' vocals rise out of the middle of the swarming synths and cymbal splashes, the heavy drum hits and a myriad of instruments. The sound is dense and textured, heavily percussive and tribal while simultaneously polished and modern.This production is not too surprising with Chris Coady behind the desk who’s tracked, mixed or engineered Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Beach House, TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear, and the list goes on.

Eye Contact is full of little treats. ‘Adult Goth’, brings to mind an electro Robert Smith, though this may be more to do with the title of the song than the dark synths, sparse guitar and wailing chorus. The five minute banger ‘Mind Killa’ with its bombastic synth bass and definite Knife influence and an insane, almost 'Mortal Combat' soundtrack break down. And a surprise appearance from Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip fame, crooning his way through ‘Romance Layers’, which sounds like some laid back, lounge-porno R & B, with its slow, sexy drums and reverb smothered vocals.

Every track stands alone as a new mood, a new scene, while the album all flows together like a some insane, percussive and exotic story. The constants here weave the songs together, the heavy percussion, Lizzi Bougatsos voice which conjures up anything from traditional Chinese folk song, to Bollywood pop to more middle eastern vocal stylings. Eye Contact may not be everyones cup of tea on first listening and if you are not familiar with Gang Gang Dance's previous releases it may take a few hours being strapped down to a chair to start to enjoy it, but once you become immersed within the soundscapes, the imagery and the sheer foot tapping goodness of it, you'll be hooked.






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