Review Summary: Don't Lose Composure Now
With a new clean vocalist and guitarist, a lot of Dance Gavin Dance fans became skeptical of Acceptance Speech. For some, the loss of long time clean vocalist Jonny Craig was too grave of a loss. Besides the intricate guitar work and superb instrumentation on their debut, Craig’s voice was a major standout on what has already been a great album. While some fans still weep and mourn over the loss, the other side realizes that they need to accept the change. Dance Gavin Dance’s new album Acceptance Speech, holds a new taste of balance and composure that sweeps through like a bird, and transends the band into whole new territories.
There has always been a relevant balance that Dance Gavin Dance has tried to nail, but it felt that the chaotic and fast parts were always outweighed by the clean cut instrumentation and Craig’s harmonic vocal performance. With Craig out of the picture, there really is no reason to only enjoy the clean vocals. The harsh vocals are now refined to be faster and more prominent, and they always bridge into a clean chorus that follows up the harmony of the chaos perfectly. The back and forth repartee between the two performances is most entertaining on “The Robot with Human Hair Part 4”, the schizophrenic introduction is pressed down to a chorus which tells the angry persona of the harsh vocals to “Hang on” and to not lose control. The anger leads off, exclaiming to let go and lose it all. The balance of thoughts and rhythm is what makes the song so great; there is no element that outdoes the other. The rest of the album follows a close resemblance to this formula, with mostly clean choruses, hardcore interludes, and hectic breakdowns.
The instrumentation for the most part is superb. Every instrument has its golden moments throughout the experience, but the lead guitar stands out the most amidst the production. The beauty in the destructive guitar playing is showcased early on in the album, and it never lets up. It’s loud, energetic, explosive, and just incredible to listen to. Choosing a few standouts for the guitar is so hard, since the album is filled with memorable riffs and melodies. It’s also inconceivable to note that this is the first time guitarist Josh Benton has performed for Dance Gavin Dance in an album recording, meaning there is still room for improving to reach greater heights in time. The drumming stands out as well, and it does its job of adding wood to the fire. The drums are blazing fast in intros and outros, but slow and melodic in clean parts. They balance out just like the vocals, providing a refreshing taste with each new pattern of sound.
Dance Gavin Dance has shown the world that they do not need one superior talent to continue making good music. With the departure of Jonny Craig once again, maybe we should all bid him farewell with smiles on our faces, as the band is capable of playing without him. The excellent balance of pace and thoughts make the album energetic and fun as well as thought provoking and clever. Instrumentation is intricate and well done, and the lyrics couldn’t fit the music any better. Though there is clearly room for improvement, the band does its best to provide the listener with an original experience. If Dance Gavin Dance were to continue down this road, the future could not look any brighter.