Dance Gavin Dance
Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean



by Kronzo USER (45 Reviews)
May 18th, 2009 | 18 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid debut from a promising band.

Dance Gavin Dance – Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean

• Jonny Craig - Lead Vocals
• Jonathan Mess - Screamed Vocals
• Sean O'Sullivan - Guitar
• Will Swan - Guitar
• Eric Lodge - Bass Guitar
• Matt Mingus - Drums

It’s always interesting to go back to a band’s roots and see how they started. Post-Hardcore act Dance Gavin Dance has managed to maintain their sound throughout their discography but always tried out new things to keep the formula fresh on each record. Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean is a raw EP with great songwriting and musicianship.

Songwriting and Musicianship aside, there are a few dynamics in Dance Gavin Dance that set them apart from the sea of hardcore groups. Most importantly, there is the inclusion of two lead vocalists: Jonny Craig, who does the clean vocals, and Jon Mess, who does the screaming/yelling vocals. Another positive note about this record is that the production and mix is fairly decent for a first EP.

Also, guitarists or even fans of guitar will enjoy this record even more then everyone else. This record is very guitar-based compared to most other (post)hardcore bands (although not as guitar-based as their later records). A good example of this would be “The Robot With Human Hair Pt. 1”. It has a lot of those signature DGD dual lead guitar lines that almost act as a precursor of what’s to come.

I do, however, have a few gripes about this record. My main issue with Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean would be the Jonathan Mess’s screamed vocals. Jon has a very raspy scream and he sounds very angry a lot of the time. While the harsh vocals sometimes succeed in showing anger in some of the tracks, they more often than not hinder the mood of a song. An example of this would be “The Robot vs. Heroin Battle of Vietnam”. This song has one of the best vocal performances from Craig. Sadly, Mess’s screamed lyrics that accompany Craig’s lines are unnecessary and almost ruin the soft and brooding sections of the song.

Jon Mess isn’t all that terrible though. In “Burning down the Nicotine Armoire”, his screamed vocals in the intro really fit well with the song and make it sound really aggressive. The drumming in this song is also really good too. The beats drive the song and there are a lot of interesting fills and it makes good use of double kick beats without over doing them. It also has really good soft parts with interesting bass lines and ride cymbal rolls.

Another thing that bothers me about this record is the ambient intro of wind blowing sounds. It’s cool at first but it should only be about half as long as it drags on even though it’s a 48 second track. This means there is only six real tracks on the record.

Overall, this is a record I would recommend if you are already a fan of Dance Gavin Dance or similar bands. This is a great first record but I would suggest listening to Downtown Battle Mountain before this because it is more accessible/better for new listeners of this band. I just wish there was more material on this record. I managed to get a hold of the B-side track “Attack Of The Dashing Young And Bold”. It was one of my personal favorites and I’m surprised they decided to keep it off the record.

Overall Rating 3/5

Recent reviews by this author
Eminem SHADYXVOceano Ascendants
Buckethead 3 Foot ClearanceBuckethead Empty Space
Buckethead It's AliveGlass Cloud Perfect War Forever
user ratings (562)
other reviews of this album
YakNips (5)
A raw, emotional, and unique debut from a post-hardcore colossus. Furthermore, this is Jonny Craig a...

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 18th 2009


good review, haven't listened to this yet..not a big fan of jonny craig though, he'd be better as a fuckin r&b singer imo

August 18th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

I love this album. It got me into DGD but all of their newer albums are better. Except maybe Death Star because that had some obvious awkwardness happening due to the transition to a new singer.

November 19th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

The Robot Vs. Heroin is the shit. some of Jonny's best vox, and a seriously good chorus.

I honestly love this album. It's very raw as you said, and the dual singers up the awesomeness a lot. Mess & Craig have completely different styles, so together the contrast is intruiging.

March 24th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

the robot part 2 is just insane. like how does a band with member that are all like 19 write that kind of song? unbelievable talent. i agree with the vocal contrasts of the johns. they are the yin and yang and that's why it works so well. a raspy shout and a gentle croon. the rawness of this record has todo with it being recorded in 1 day in some random studio and rumor has it jonny was incredibly drunk the entire time. more than likely true

March 25th 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

The Robot With Human Hair Part 2 blew me away. 3:00-3:33 of this song is one of my favorite DGD moments. Altogether a solid album even though I wish they would rerecord it so the sound quality would be a little bit better.

May 2nd 2011


This and Deathstar are the only amazing albums by this band...they show what it could have been Jonny and their drummer ruined the band by fucking over the other band members and their fans, and Jon followed aloong with whatever Jonny did... A Lot Like Birds is exactly what DGD should have been. The Robot With Human Hair (all parts of it) are such a perfect multi part story-song... it's sad they didn't expand that. The one good song on DTBM2 was TRWHH 2 1/2, and that song is nothing compared to the rest of TRWHH saga...

October 7th 2011


For some reason I think this is their best album.. by far.
Guilty pleasure I guess - but I believe this deserves at least a 4.

Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

I never really liked this one

Digging: Yung Lean - Poison Ivy

April 28th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

Sooo very underrated, I might have to write a 5 review for this thing

April 29th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Such an earnest album, I have it slightly behind DBM, but ahead of DTBMII.

Self-Titled> DTBM> WISIRO> Happiness > DTBMII

May 15th 2013


"Sooo very underrated, I might have to write a 5 review for this thing" [2]

May 9th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

so raw. so passionate. similar to circa's ep and debut LP in experimentation

July 11th 2014


Album Rating: 5.0

epic tier SKRAMZ imo

April 23rd 2015


cover looks like a Jon mess painting

April 23rd 2015


It is haha

May 8th 2016


Album Rating: 4.5

the importance of cocaine is one of my favorite things they've made

it's also great on their original demo EP, I think I prefer the vocals on that because jonny layered some harmonies which sounded divine

this was so raw and I love how jon and jonny sound

Contributing Reviewer
September 28th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

the second best jon has ever sounded

October 4th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

@TheSpirit I thought he sounded awesome up here as well. What do you think is his best?

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy