When Gang Gang Dance released their 2008 album ‘St Dymphna’ it felt as near to perfection as the New Yorkers were going to get. From the waking digital flutters of ‘Bebey’ to ‘Dust’’s closing fanfare, via ‘House Jam’, ‘First Communion’ and the Tinchy Stryder-featuring ‘Princes’, it was easily the most surprising and bewitching album of the year.
Have they surpassed themselves with 2011’s ‘Eye Contact’? Even after umpteen replays it’s hard to tell. Probably not quite, but they’ve still rustled up the best album we’ve heard so far this year. Gone are the guest grime raps. No longer is drummer Tim DeWitt with the band, replaced by Jesse Lee. On the whole though, we’re in pretty familiar territory and ‘Eye Contact’ feels like the logical next step after ‘St Dymphna’, a ten track ideas pile-up of digital worldbeat tied together only by their mishevious sense of adventure and Lizzi Bougatsos’ shamanistic vocals.
‘Romance Layers’ is the ‘House Jam’, all laid-back funk and pure 80s pop twinkle while ‘Adult Goth’ is probably the album’s highlight (after 11-minute opener ‘Glass Jar’), a dense riddle of synth noises from low-end bass weezes to frantic high-pitched noodling. If Florence nicks anything this time it’ll be that one. Expect all sorts of deranged metaphors this week as people get to grips with the sounds in Gang Gang Dance’s heads.
The band hit the UK on May 11th (Manchester’s Ruby Lounge) before playing Brighton (12th) ATP (13th) and London (16th).