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Dance Gavin Dance - 'Afterburner' Album Review


1. Prisoner

2. Lyrics Lie

3. Calentamiento Global

4. Three Wishes

5. One In A Million

6. Parody Catharsis

7. Strawberry's Wake

8. Born To Fail

9. Parallels

10. Night Sway

11. Say Hi

12. Nothing Shameful

13. Into The Sunset

So. Prog-rock? Who do you think of? Usually, you might think of bands like Yes, or Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Or maybe Pink Floyd if you were lucky. I’m a little ashamed to say that, until now, I wouldn’t have even thought of Dance Gavin Dance, let alone thought of them as Prog-Rock. 'Afterburner' certainly fixes the ‘wouldn’t have thought of them’ part of this, even if I’m not sure I’d call it Prog-Rock. Or Math-Core. Or Post-Hardcore. Or Fusion. Or anything which has a name!

Starting with opener 'Prisoner' and running thoughout, there is a wonderful balance of light and heavy, which at no point feels jarring. It’s only towards the end of the album, tracks like 'Night Sway', when you actually notice that Dance Gavin Dance can play some heavy stuff. The further you listen with this album, the more you realise that there is no let-up in the intensity, variety or quality of the songs. Each one oozes invention and imagination, making every track a joy to listen to. The lyrics are steeped in an emotional maturity – with plenty of optimistic hope - sometimes missing from heavier music.

A striking feature of the album is the illusion of simplicity. It took me half a dozen listens or more to notice the depth and intricacy in the music, in the sound. When you first listen to the songs, everything appears to be in such balance, with every individual part fitting so harmoniously, that you fail to notice how complex the musicianship is on each separate part.

Remarkably, this is a band which, despite a raft of line-up changes, has been going for 15 years. And yet, they sound fresher and richer in ideas than most bands who have been together a fraction of this time. The way each member’s contribution sits alongside the others, complimenting each other, suggests a deep unity of belief and direction which the whole band is clear about.

This is a band who don’t seem to care what other bands are doing, or what anyone expects them to be doing. This is a band who make music they want to make. And they want to make incredible music.

Genres don’t mean a lot when you make music like this. It is as simple as that. So. Prog-rock? If 'Afterburner' is the answer, then the answer is yes!

Standout track - Strawberry's Wake

Review - Adam Harrison

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