If anyone can think of a name for what Gang Gang Dance does, I’d like to hear it. They’re anything but a “noise” band, as what they do is extremely musical and even melodic. They could be called “experimental,” but that seems like too much of a cop-out. Post-rock? Maybe. Freak-folk? Hardly. Funk? Now, let’s not get carried away. But Gang Gang Dance does have a particular sound, and even with its parallels to bands like Excepter or Animal Collective, it doesn’t sound exactly like them, even though the overall aesthetic may be somewhat similar.
The opening percussion track to God’s Money (titled, simply, “God’s Money I”) starts off with an oblique set of patterns, but by the time “Glory In Itself/Egyptian” rolls around, ambient waves, funky basslines, dancey drum beats and ghostly female vocals fall into place, revealing a melodic sound that comes across as far more accessible than anything by Black Dice, though it’s light years away from anything on the radio. “Egowar,” meanwhile, is exotic and dreamy. The vocals are still bizarre and distant, but the delay-treated instruments offer something more in the way of a mellow, pop-leaning listen.
Clanging percussion abounds on “God’s Money V,” after an untitled piano piece. The song is more dubby and low-key than a few of the prior tracks, offering an almost meditative, though slightly chaotic sound. In many ways, Gang Gang Dance have a lot in common with Too Pure alumni Moonshake and Laika, in that they all play dub-inflected, slightly funky, slightly ambient and altogether unusual music. But they’re all quite accessible, in varying degrees of course. Moonshake and Laika actually were singles bands, while Gang Gang Dance isn’t, so much. But Gang Gang Dance still manages to make music that appeals to those who still haven’t quite gotten their heads around Wolf Eyes.
It has to be said: there’s nothing shameful about melody. Just because Gang Gang Dance has it doesn’t mean it’s at all conventional. God’s Money is a peerless listen: the kind of record that leaves you scratching your head, not because you don’t get it, but because you have a hard time explaining how much you love it. Gang Gang Dance saw 2005 pass with little fanfare, but there’s only so long you can ignore a band that invents its own genre.
Animal Collective – Here Comes the Indian
Laika – Good Looking Blues
Excepter – KA
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.