Dance Gavin Dance
Artificial Selection


4.5
superb

Review

by Zachery Cotto USER (22 Reviews)
June 9th, 2018 | 95 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Swan’s song to success

Dance Gavin Dance are a band that have reached a level of success that many in their vein could only dream of. After nearly a decade of tumultuous line-up changes, style shifts and fluctuating critical reception, Dance Gavin Dance had managed to carve their own niche in the music industry with their eclectic instrumentation, quirky-meme screamer Jon Mess, and melodramatic clean vocalist, Tilian Pearson. They’ve worked at their own pace to build an eclectic discography of genre-bending material with a sort of cult following that was as wacky and obtuse as the band.

That was until they released their last LP, Mothership.

Mothership, love it or hate it, saw the band soar in popularity with the closest reach to the mainstream that a band as zany and commonly misinterpreted as ‘screamo’ could be. It was such a success that it bred a question that Dance Gavin Dance possibly never anticipated: “Where do we go from here"”

In comes Artificial Selection, a record that the band’s guitarist, Will Swan, touted as being their most diverse and sonically incohesive one yet. For many bands that automatically sounds like a major red-flag, but Dance Gavin Dance are a different beast.

They’ve always tried to offer different takes on each release, with each album having a distinct genre-bending flavor to it that’s different from the last. So, it only makes sense that they’d eventually create a record that culminates that mindset into one release where each track provides some sort of separate offering. In many regards, it works to encapsulate the entre philosophy of the band. If Mothership was a band at their peak, Artificial Selection is the after-party—a celebration of the legacy of the band and all that they've built up to.

It might be a little far-fetched to read that at first glance, but once you get a look at the features on the record that intent starts to become clear. With former guitarist Zachary Garren doing guitar work on the track ‘Care,’ a vocal feature from former vocalist Kurt Travis on ‘Shelf Life’, several instrumental features from contributor Jessica Esposito and even several guitar cuts and a vocal performance from the band’s touring Guitarist, Andrew Wells, of Eidola—it’s obvious that Dance Gavin Dance wanted this to be their most celebratory and collaborative release ever and it pulls that off masterfully.

The range of styles that are thrown across this album are so varied that it’s hard to believe that tracks like ‘The Rattler’ and ‘Care’ originated from the same record. Bloodsucker is as serious and relentless as Dance Gavin Dance could possibly get and it comes right after the carefree ‘Hair Song’—a track that is literally about various ways you can do your hair. With the pop-punk motif of the track ‘Story of My Bros.’ the smooth RnB stylings of ‘Count Bassy’ even to the surf rock vibes on ‘Slouch’ this record goes all over the place in terms of heaviness, moodiness and experimentation.

Despite this, Artificial Selection is easily the most Tilian-centric release from the band yet, with the first-half of the record being front-loaded with songs where he really gets to shine. The titular opener, ‘Son of Robot,’ let’s you know that right away with some mellifluous guitar melodies and a flute instrumental that do a perfect job of complimenting Tilian’s vocal cadence. ‘Count Bassy,’ features a stellar hook where Will’s guitar and Jessica’s kazoo—yes kazoo—harmonize with Tilian’s line, “don’t get all sentimental about it,” in a way that feels haunting and shows off his high ranges. Even a later cut on the record, ‘Gospel Burnout,’ shows some of Tilian’s best lyrics yet, with an anthem against losing innocence, ignorance and youth.

Even though Tilian gets a large chunk of the spotlight, it doesn’t mean that others don’t get their moments. Bassist, Tim Feerick, offers his most enticing and addictive cuts in recent memory on tracks like ‘Slouch’ and ‘Count Bassy.’ Meme-Screamer Jon Mess brings some of his most quotable lyricism with stuff like “I’m smoking weed out of a pussy filled with money, I like this,” “Dr. Mess goes flagrant till he makes you leggo your eggo,” or the factually correct: “You’ve gotta be on alcohol to hang out in a shopping mall, there’s nothing left to buy that isn’t cheaper online.” Former clean vocalist, Kurt Travis, takes over on the song ‘Shelf Life’ in a nostalgia trip that’s sure to set older Dance Gavin Dance fans into a frenzy. Both Will Swan and Matt Mingus hold their own on guitar and drums respectively. Will continues to experiment with various tones through the record. Matt even offers a brief bongo interlude on the track ‘Care.’

In many regards, Artificial Selection is the record that Dance Gavin Dance’s self-titled should have been. It’s the band’s most collaborative and celebratory record with each piece of personnel leaving their mark every step of the way. With such an eclectic and diverse track list Artificial Selection culminates into a fantastic celebration of Dance Gavin Dance’s legacy and history.



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Darwin be damned, there's still blood pumping here. But for how long?...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
ZachNyeScienceGuy
June 9th 2018


175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Asses, asses, asses in battle:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvBPG0RCfA&list=PLKcGEIO7V0rVklpuFLDXBPfXGADXPaUY1

foreverburning
June 9th 2018


78 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is all over the place and I love it. Great review, man, pos’d

OwMySnauze
June 9th 2018


1772 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

We don’t want the Tillian Show [100]

GreyShadow
June 10th 2018


2317 Comments


Something that I don't get is that everyone keeps pointing out how Tilian-centric this album is but it feels no more or less Tilian-centric than the past 3.

Digging: Dance Gavin Dance - Artificial Selection

ALawlessLad
June 10th 2018


1 Comments


The phrase "many in their vain" should be "many in their vein", otherwise a good review.

toocool4pos
June 11th 2018


216 Comments


The phrase "many in their vain" should be "many in their vein", otherwise a good review. [2]

Spec
June 11th 2018


35449 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Have a pos.



I really wish I liked this more.

TheWonderSoFar
June 11th 2018


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed 100% with Grey

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2018


23613 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

“Flash” is so good

Drifter
June 11th 2018


12819 Comments


Goddamn

calmrose
June 11th 2018


2950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really wish I liked this more. [2]

Digging: Sophie - Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides

DrummerDudeGuy
June 11th 2018


50 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review that highlights exactly how I feel about this album, although you didn't mention Flash preceding The Rattler, which feels more out of place than Hair Song/Bloodsucker. I'm also a shill for that song so whatever, fight me about it

Snake.
June 12th 2018


20675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dis cool

Digging: Snail Mail - Lush

Groink
June 12th 2018


829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What's wrong with "Tilian-centric?"

RobertZDar
June 12th 2018


87 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

this gargles my chode

RippingCorpse1986
June 12th 2018


2132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet.

DinosaurJones
June 13th 2018


9700 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Picked up a hard copy of this today. Wanted the vinyl, but they didn't have it. That said, the liner notes DO say the following:



"Jon Mess gives special thanks to: Bongletopper, Rebingtrigues Fhskarfj, and Fhirooeorok."



Seems accurate.

Digging: Tupper Ware Remix Party - Together Through Time

Laen
June 13th 2018


82 Comments


The multiple callback reprises of their old material at the end of Evaporate destroyed me

BrushedRed
June 13th 2018


2687 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There are parts of this I love and parts of it I hate. Hair Song and Shelf Life are amazeballs though

CuddlyCaucasian
June 13th 2018


104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

legit Story of My Bros sounds like a parody of a pop punk song



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