Dance Gavin Dance
Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean


5.0
classic

Review

by YakNips USER (39 Reviews)
May 21st, 2013 | 186 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A raw, emotional, and unique debut from a post-hardcore colossus. Furthermore, this is Jonny Craig at his best.

It seems this band can do no wrong.

This EP starts out with the title track, which serves as an intro. The song features a minute long ambient soundscape of wind and other ambient noise; the song has an organic yet cold sound to it, and this grips you from the start. From there it goes straight into the first full song, The Robot With Human Hair Pt. 1. The Robot With Human Hair series is something that Dance Gavin Dance has expanded on throughout their career, having two additions on this EP, one on a later record with Kurt Travis, and another even later with Jonny Craig back in the band. There's a reason they've kept this series going.

This song immediately hits you with the guitar work of Will Swan and the drumming of Matt Mingus, the only 2 members of DGD to stay in the band throughout their entire career, and they sure as hell go well together. From there it goes into some of JC's (Jonny Craig or Jesus Christ, same person) iconic and beautifully warm voice, straight into Jon Mess' (A.K.A. the inventor of Times New Roman) trademark angry screams harmonizing along with JC. You get a prime taste of what's to come in this EP just from the first minute of this track.

Compared to the fan-favorite LP that came after this, Downtown Battle Mountain, this EP has an overall more raw sound to it, which increases the emotion of this entire creation. The emotion shows throughout this entire thing, from JC's passionate wails, to Mess' anguished cries, and it even shows in the lead guitar work from Will Swan, who pretty much drives this whole EP along. Swan is known for being one of the most remarkably talented guitarists in post-hardcore today, and it goes without saying that this is the case on this EP. From a rare breakdown from DGD on The Importance of Cocaine, to the tapping sections on Burning Down The Nicotine Armoire, the whole deal is driven by Swan.

The rhythm guitarist Sean O'Sullivan shines on this thing too, along with the bassist Eric Lodge. The bass line on Burning Down The Nicotine Armoire adds so much to the song, and drives it to be the best song on this release. The whole song is drenched with emotion from start to finish: starting out with Mess' tortured screams, ""And they would follow you home until we wind up dead, checking your pulse." The song ends with JC crying out, "If you could just wake up tonight, I'd be with you under this sky, with you tonight."

But really the shining point on this whole album is the chorus on Burning Down The Nicotine Armoire where JC and Mess integrate beautifully. Mess screams out "It grabbed us by the throat, yet we continue to breathe" as JC sings out simultaneously "That's how I feel about love, that it's not worth it." The lyrics drive this album along with Mess' abstract imagery and JC bellowing about women and drugs.

Although there are certain tracks that stand out, there isn't any filler on this EP. Each track remains interesting and serves its purpose. All of the members of DGD shine on this album, which is something that you don't see quite as much in their other releases, and while I may be a huge fan of Kurt Travis, he never seems to lash out with the passion that JC shows on this album.

I can't think of anything bad to say about this album, it shines just as bright as Downtown Battle Mountain, the flame just doesn't burn as long, this being only 6 real songs. This is something that might not strike you on your first listen, but this is a certain gem among a band's discography filled with diamonds. The only real problem I can see people having with this is some people could find it less accessible than DBM, due to the imperfect production and Mess' raspy screams, but in the end that's what really makes this album so exceptional.

Pros

- Raw as hell
- Emotional and heartfelt
- Expertly crafted instrumentally
- Passionate vocal performances from Mess and Craig

Cons

- Some could see it as being too unrefined

Overall rating: 4.8/5



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user ratings (600)
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Kronzo (3)
A solid debut from a promising band....


Comments:Add a Comment 
YakNips
May 21st 2013


19947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My first 5 review, don't crucify me

Gwyn.
May 21st 2013


17221 Comments


bring me da cross

Guzzo10
May 21st 2013


1276 Comments


...but it has Johnny Craig

ConcubinaryCode
May 21st 2013


5339 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Mess' vocals rule on this but fuck it gets so boring.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013


57224 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't remember this being all that great

YakNips
May 21st 2013


19947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Jonny Craig + Jon Mess + Will Swan + Matt Mingus = Gooooooooooooooooood.

DrMaximus
May 21st 2013


12541 Comments


"It seems this band can do no wrong."

Stopped reading there.


YakNips
May 21st 2013


19947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just my opinion after listening to all of their albums over and over again.

DrMaximus
May 21st 2013


12541 Comments


Just messing with you man. Good review, I pos'd.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013


57224 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Robot With Human Hair 2 is really good



"Just Messing with you"



I get it

YakNips
May 21st 2013


19947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lol, thanks man.

DrMaximus
May 21st 2013


12541 Comments


:p

mandan
May 21st 2013


13409 Comments


Hey, this is a very good review. Have a pos!

alachlahol
May 21st 2013


7593 Comments


raw is a word that can never be used to describe this band

XingKing
May 21st 2013


15099 Comments


Everything about this EP is great EXCEPT for Johnny. He is noticeably off key throughout a vast majority of the EP. Mess sounds fucking fantastic, which is a shame because he sounds like total shit on every release that isn't this (Sorry to say, Mess fanboys)

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013


43738 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

Completely agree with Xing. Jonny sounds pretty bad on most of this while making massive improvements on DBM, whereas Mess's vocals just went to shit after this.

infinitetcetera
May 21st 2013


38 Comments


I unearthed this in an FYE that was going out of business a couple years ago. Really interesting to see the origins of this band on record, I've always been a huge fan of Will Swan's guitar work/songwriting. The dude is flat-out brilliant, even shining here through the muddy production. I agree with Xing too however, Mr. Craig was very noticeably out of tune on this album.

Enjoyed your review, be pos'd!

FromDaHood
May 21st 2013


9112 Comments


Tidal Waves is their worst song

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2013


57224 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wtf Mess sounds awful on this

MalleusMaleficarum
May 21st 2013


16382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

craig sounds good on this deal w/ it



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