Jonny Craig and the rest of the original lineup of underground sensation Dance Gavin Dance are back, and back with a boom.
Millions of fans across the world have been waiting patiently for a reunion, one that many believed would never come. Thank goodness it has, and the new album, “Downtown Battle Mountain II,” has more funk and soul in it than any other before it, even the original.
Dance Gavin Dance began in 2005 out of Sacramento, Calif., with their EP, “Whatever I Say is Royal Ocean.” It was then re-released in 2006, when they were officially signed to Rise Records.
“Downtown Battle Mountain” was released a year later, taking the techniques from the EP and vamping up the quality.
This album caused a band of followers, thanks to their unique technique of spastic guitar laced with soulful vocal chords.
The cat screeching provided by Jon Mess, though not a popular sound, was unique to the band, which also gave them attention.
Above all was the angelic voice of Jonny Craig, originally from Canada.
Craig has a voice that no bystander would expect from a guy with a small frame and an orange mullet haircut.
Unfortunately their luck wouldn’t last, with Craig getting into drugs and being kicked out of the band in 2007. They continued to make albums without him, while he joined the Christian band Emarosa.
The two albums without Craig were innovative, but were still missing the soul.
In August 2010 many fans’ prayers were answered, when, according to Alternative Press magazine, Jonny Craig rejoined DGD, and the band decided to record “Downtown Battle Mountain II,” with the original lineup.
“Downtown Battle Mountain II” was released on March 8, 2011, and received many positive reviews.
The sequel to the original has many of the same techniques, but also some from previous albums.
“Happiness,” an album produced in 2009, added a funk quality to the band, mostly through guitar riffs and drum patterns. This funk was revived for “Downtown Battle Mountain II,” which was much better with Craig’s R&B style of singing.
The new album starts with “Spooks,” a brilliant first track starting with a high guitar riff and Craig’s cooing following shortly after. It continues into the hard snazzy guitar, which then leads to a new technique, rapping, provided by guitarist Will Swan.
Accompanying this short rap is a perfectly funky guitar riff that again leads into Craig’s brilliant serenade.
If listeners enjoy straight funk, track eight, “Blue Dream,” is the perfect package. It still holds the screaming and crazy guitar, but breaks down into a song that would be found in the 1970s.
With Craig singing, “Doo doo doo doo doo don’t move, baby, stay put,” no ears can resist the Motown-esque flavor.
Craig adds some personal spice to the pot, ending the song with a phone call to his girlfriend, in a style only Jonny Craig would do it – no details given away here, one must hear it for themselves.
Other fan favorites would be the always reoccurring “Robot with Human Hair,” this time being pt. 2 ½.
Though different on each album, every version still manages to have sounds similar enough to recognize.
“Heat Seeking Ghost of Sex” has some of the catchiest melodies, reminiscent of the first “Downtown Battle Mountain.”
The band is known for its intricate breakdowns, and this song is one of the best examples on the album.
The only downside to “Downtown Battle Mountain II” would be the lyrics, though DGD has never been known for completely intellectual thought processes.
The music and singing was enough to keep fans preoccupied from disorienting lyrics, but this latest album takes the cake for extremely bizarre writing.
“Pounce Bounce,” the second song on the album, is a perfect example of this, with Jon Mess screaming: “What’s it like to be a marble?/ Did I get something in your eye?/ She’s a referee, and I’m lethally overdosed on pumpkin pie.”
Most lyrics that Mess creates are incoherent, but he still manages to make them catchy.
Regardless of lyrics, the rest of the “Downtown Battle Mountain II” package is solid, and guaranteed to impress every lover of any genre of music.