Daily Egyptian

‘Instant Gratification’ is an appropriately named masterpiece

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

When a band has been around for more than a decade, a consistent lineup cannot always be expected.

One California-based post-hardcore band, Dance Gavin Dance, has stood the tests of time with the release of its sixth full-length album “Instant Gratification.”

The band started playing local shows more than 10 years ago and has had roughly 15 members come in and out of the lineup within that time. 

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Even though three of those were drastic vocal changes, Dance Gavin Dance has still maintained its original sound with very subtle progression along the way.

“Instant Gratification” is the band’s second album with clean vocalist Tillian Pearson, who joined in 2013 after the second departure of Jonny Craig. 

After testing the album’s potential with the single releases of “On the Run,” “We Own the Night” and “Stroke God, Millionare,” it became obvious this body of work took a year’s time and effort.

The previous album “Acceptance Speech” was released the same year Pearson joined and seemed a little rushed sonically. This time around, the band has settled in with all members and it is evident in the album’s production.

Not only does Pearson’s voice echo over the rest of the band similar to Craig’s, but his vocal lines also synchronize with Dance Gavin Dance’s progressive playing style.

The album starts off with ferocity in “We Own the Night,” a personal favorite. Pearson’s high notes emerge from the beginning with melodic guitar breaks from the band’s lead guitarist and Alternative Press Music Awards 2015 Best Guitarist nominee, Will Swan.

The song ends with a catchy, feel-good riff that submerges the listener into the album.

“Stroke God, Millionaire,” the second song, showcases the band’s unique lyrical craftsmanship, which borders on insane and genius with lines like, “proxy the awesome and seek the deletion of reaper repeating submission face.”

The first song released for the album, “On the Run,” is a solid balance of the band’s heavy side and smooth side.

If there is one thing “Instant Gratification” does, it provides a blend of soft and heavy rhythms. There are parts where the band throws all their tricks into a breakdown and other parts where just the guitars riff angelically over a hi-hat beat.

The middle of the album reminds listeners Dance Gavin Dance is still a metal band with songs like “Sharkdad” and “Awkward,” where Jon Mess’ vocal screams tear over thick, syncopated breakdowns.

This album also brings back Swan’s signature rap lines in the song “Eagles vs. Crows,” a motif that was missing in their previous album and shows the band’s ability to transcend genres.

Dance Gavin Dance has always been about artistry and storytelling.

Over the band’s previous albums, there have been several songs with similar names in different parts. For example, “The Robot with Human Hair Pt. 1” debuted on one of the band’s first EPs and concluded with “Death of the Robot with Human Hair,” on their last record.

The song “Death of a Strawberry,” implies a tranquil conclusion to the “Strawberry Swisher” series which appears sporadically on previous albums.

The album ends on a strong note, musically and lyrically, with “Lost,” which tells a story of a man searching for truth, while incorporating some strong vocal harmonies and chromatic riffs. 

As a whole, Instant Gratification lives up to its name and brings the Dance Gavin Dance style to a whole new level.

The record also keeps things reminiscent of earlier albums, from the artwork, illustrated by Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson, to the behind-the-scenes work from award-winning producer Kris Crummit.

A fan of musical depth in metal/rock music could see “Instant Gratification” as a must-have for 2015.

5/5 stars

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