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Review: Gang Gang Dance, Saint Dymphna

For all its creativity, however, Saint Dymphna does little justice to Gang Gang Dance’s oft-raved-about live shows.

3.5

Gang Gang Dance, Saint Dymphna

Music reviews, it seems, are often created by pasting together strings of well-worn adjectives from some ever-present media grab bag. Words that could be (and probably have been) applied to Gang Gang Dance include but are not limited to: eclectic, refreshing, unusual, unexpected, energetic, experimental, twitchy, graceful, shimmering, spastic, careful, random, choral, tribal, organic, bizarre. Genres which could be referenced to describe their new album Saint Dymphna include: glitch, acid jazz, post-rock, world beat, hip-hop, ambient, indie pop, psych, dance-punk, trance (for crying out loud).

None of these terms would make much sense strung together—except in the context of the deeply weird and oddly enjoyable attention-deficit collage of sounds that is Saint Dymphna. Gang Gang Dance has a certain je ne sais quois (or perhaps just a certain strangeness) that doesn’t lend itself well to linguistic description, and yet it somehow seems to follow that the band’s creativity doesn’t translate itself particularly well to the album format either.

While most of the tracks here run into each other via interludes comprised mostly of sound effects and unusual beats, many of them still maintain a distinct structure, with “House Jam” and “Desert Storm” standing out as requisite party-playlist tracks for this season. For all its creativity, however, Saint Dymphna does little justice to the band’s oft-raved-about live shows.

On record, the band’s remarkable energy often falls flat and their eclecticism is more distracting than compelling. Yet as compared to their previous efforts, the album is surprisingly accessible and at times almost poppy—a valiant attempt at distilling, or translating, the Gang Gang Dance experience into the album format.

Label: Social Registry Release Date: October 21, 2008 Buy: Amazon

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