Beloved freak outfit Gang Gang Dance return with a record for 4ad! Still with all the silly track titles you've come to love, their new one is called Kazuashita and sees them melding together ambient and shoegaze in a textural standoff that's sure to knock your socks off or at the very least slowly unravel them. Good to have you back, my friends.
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Seven years is a very long time isn’t it? Seven years ago I was still at school with friends who were really into Gang Gang Dance. I’ve never followed the band so these seven years haven’t been filled with a single thought about what Gang Gang Dance were up to, but now, as I listen to this album, I feel weirdly nostalgic. That seven year gap means that Gang Gang Dance exist as a kind of time capsule of my late teens: endless summers, homework, getting pissed for the first time. So thank you Gang Gang Dance for this reminder that I'm getting on.
'Kazuashita' seems in line with what I remember about the band. There’s the esoterically titled interludes, there’s the manic polyrhythms, and more than anything, there’s the endless pursuit of euphoria (it’s no surprise that stadium staple Florence & The Machine stole Gang Gang Dance’s ‘House Jam’ for ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)’. That last one is the thing that struck me when my friends were listening to 2011's 'Eye Contact'. There’s something quite perfect about half-remembered euphoria being all I remember from those adolescent listening sessions.
But in the same way that being sixteen probably wasn’t that good, listening to Kazuashita is making me wonder whether the band were ever as potent as I thought. The album is certainly upbeat and endearing. There’s a brightness to everything and at least something aiming at joyful, but somehow something is falling short and the band end up sounding like a lesser version of Grimes’ 'Art Angels'.
At the midpoint of album closer ‘Salve on the Sorrow’, the band explode into wave of trance and glory. This is the band I remember, and it’s moments like these they were still so adept and producing. I'm glad I'm not sixteen any more.
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