“In the past, I imagined our music being more about closing your eyes and escaping.” Said keyboardist Brian DeGraw in a recent interview. Eye Contact is the fifth album for Gang Gang Dance, and their first on 4AD.
Eye Contact opens with the 11 minute adventure that is “Glass Jar”. It is an experience for listeners who are new to the Gang Gang Dance sound, as well as for the people who have listened since their 2004 debut, Revival of the Shittest. Glass Jar is full of a variety of instruments and sounds, which contribute percussion at random moments to retain the freshness of the song and stops it from becoming predictable. Also, the use of the alien sounds that flitter behind the rhythm of synth, cymbals and vocals are a perfect indication of GGD’s originality and intelligence in song writing. The climax at the halfway mark of the song features a very catchy, almost dance-floor like groove (that could easily be played on the radio, but sadly won’t because of its length) combined with the echoes and aired vocals of singer Lizzi Bougatsos uplift the anthem into an entirely new level of epic proportions.
The huge effort of experimentation is not wasted on Glass Jar though; Eye Contact is soaked in the stuff. After Glass Jar has finished, the feeling of awe that fills the brain allows us to continue listening to the jazz, opera like interlude that is oo without thinking it is completely bizarre.
The following song Adult Goth retains this awe and wonderment, while sounding more accessible than the opener; it still contains the experimentation and alienating sound that could only be described as Animal Collective and Crystal Castles from another planet. Despite the vast use of experimentation, every song does flow well into the next, providing bigger senses of depth and fluidity that may be have not been present in GGD’s previous efforts.
Eye Contact has a more direct, clear formula for its sound; this may signal that Gang Gang Dance has evolved into what they were trying to be: A pop band. Each track features all of the components to become a pop song, but it’s containing so much atmosphere, variety that it places it high above the level of today’s pop songs.