Album Review
Dance Gavin Dance - Happiness Album Cover

Dance Gavin Dance - Happiness

Reviewed by
Dance Gavin DanceHappiness
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: June 9, 2009
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Dance Gavin Dance’s Happiness nears its midway point; “Happiness” just ended with the album’s uproarious mixture of prog guitars and Me-So-Angry hollering. “Self-Trepanation”, which is actually a really icky thing, comes next with its club hopping effects and angsty singing: “No one believes me / They’re always on your side / Every time.” And it’s good and it’s loud and I like it. But at the same time I feel like I was abducted by aliens, placed at an alien dinner table, and then served human liver. Cannibalism’s not usually my thing, but in this particular metaphor there’s a surly alien pointing a Lazer Gun at my penis. (These aliens did their research. I’ll do anything if you point a weapon at my penis.) And much to my chagrin, the human liver tastes like f**king Chicken Parmesan. I eat the whole thing. Then I ask for seconds.

Just so we’re clear: The Chicken Parm-ish liver is Happiness. The surly alien is my paralyzing fear of commitment. Cannibal Blake is the version of Blake that doesn’t search YouTube for Neil Diamond covers.

I think the most important lesson I learned during my abduction, err, time with Happiness is that you just won’t know until you try. Jonny Craig’s scene persona, coupled with an addiction to everything from Black Tar Heroin to human fetuses, left me with a bad vibe. Downtown Battle Mountain was just too busy, and that’s saying something when referencing a band as schizophrenic as DGD. With those troubles thankfully behind them, the newest version of DGD could finally explore their unabashed love of (among other things) melodic hardcore, dance music, prog, and pop-punk. Adding to this newfound success is Will Swan, easily the band’s best screamer. His throaty roars never hinder the hasty playing of his or Zac Garren’s guitars. But it’s the songs like “NASA” and “Carl Barker”, where every element meets in the middle, that create the most fist pumpage. But hold on! Newbie Kurt Travis ain’t no afterthought. Whether it’s over Matt Mingus’ double bass pumps or Garren’s Fall Of Troy guitar wizardry, Travis can pull shapes with the best of them. For a band like this, where the music changes so rapidly, it really falls on the vocalists to make songs memorable. Without their strong contributions, the insanity would be wholly unlistenable.

Lyrically, well, maybe I’m out of the loop. There’s a juvenile hatred for all the scene girls DGD wade through at every show: “Beautiful girls with no ambition / Piling hair at the fucking salon.” Expressing distaste is well and good, but a line like “Please girl stay until the morning / We can have some coffee / You can do my laundry” doesn’t make for very authentic songwriting. The band would probably admit that lyricism isn’t exactly their focus (Swan’s screaming is usually unintelligible). Not surprisingly it becomes very hard to avoid said stupidity on scream-less party anthem “Don’t Tell Dave” or on the toned down rock of “Strawberry Swisher Pt. II.” Short of comparing the band’s heaviness to some sort of aural ozone layer, I’ll just say that Dance Gavin Dance is best served loud.

Maybe you won’t see me at a Dance Gavin Dance concert anytime soon. On the other hand, maybe you will. If I only did what was expected of me I’d be a balding environmental lawyer living in Akron. So even if you don’t take a chance on Happiness, try a new band from a strange genre. Who knows how it might taste.

Recommended If You Like: Chiodos, The Fall of Troy, Cuba Gooding Jr. movies, Enter Shikari, Incredible Hulk comics, Ema-whosah?

Full Disclosurewww.myspace.com/dancegavindance
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 103
09:32 PM on 06/22/09
Uwe Blab
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Uwe Blab's Avatar
I really like this album, but Downtown Battle Mountain can never be topped.

EDIT: Also, wasn't Drew supposed to review this?
09:36 PM on 06/22/09
Blake Solomon
every outcome's such a comedown
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
I really like this album, but Downtown Battle Mountain can never be topped.

EDIT: Also, wasn't Drew supposed to review this?
he ghostwrote it, i just posted it
10:09 PM on 06/22/09
Sleep underground tonight...
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Romancebled's Avatar
this album is really enjoyable. love the guitar work on it.
10:14 PM on 06/22/09
all hope lies in Doom
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xapplexpiex's Avatar
IMHO this band went downhill ever since Jonny Craig left the band. I love Downtown Battle Mountain. I'll still proly pick this up though.
10:50 PM on 06/22/09
Burn That Shit
a strange turn of events
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10:56 PM on 06/22/09
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polygon's Avatar
Still head and shoulders above the Rise genericore roster, but this album didn't really do it for me. Neither did their last, but I like the direction their sound went a bit more this time. Still nothing too memorable, they're cursed to live in Jonny's shadow.
11:17 PM on 06/22/09
Keagan Ilvonen
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Keagan Ilvonen's Avatar
Between this and Death Star I can say that I'm happy with where the band is. Death Star gave me the more aggressive in your face DGD and Happiness is a more experimental DGD but by no means bad. Good job with this Blake.
11:43 PM on 06/22/09
Registered User
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cereal4life's Avatar
Blake, your opening paragraphs never cease to confuse me.
12:19 AM on 06/23/09
Zeus to a Kronos
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Burn_Burn_Burn's Avatar
you should check out my review, right here ---> http://allages.org/reviews/june-2009...nce-happiness/
it's a bit more balanced than drew/blake's review.
03:02 AM on 06/23/09
Love is easier made than kept!
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icynova's Avatar
This review seemed to be lacking coherancy, sometimes changing direction mid-sentence. Kind of disappointing since usually I love Drew's reviews.

This might have benefited from a heavy-handed editor?

Otherwise, thanks for the insight into the new album!
05:39 AM on 06/23/09
City Love
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Akissforher's Avatar
good album, almost as good as dbm
05:41 AM on 06/23/09
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superBMRuth's Avatar
this is their best and most cohesive work so far in my opinion. Downhill Battle Mountain was alright, but for fucks sake let's get over it now.
06:16 AM on 06/23/09
Roll Tide.
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Handicapdhotdog's Avatar
This album tops anything this band, or Emarosa, has ever written. Their current singer is just as good as Johnny Craig, in my opinion.
06:21 AM on 06/23/09
We shouldnt have abandoned dreaming
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jtyexists9's Avatar
I am sure that not many agree with me, though I find this album and the Death Star album(self titled) head and shoulders above Downtown Battle Mountain and the EP. Kurt Travis is a better fit and Will makes the screaming somewhat better.

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