Dance Gavin Dance Focus on Catchy Hooks With 'Artificial Selection' (Review)

Updated on June 13, 2018
Jack Teters profile image

Jack Teters, co-host of the podcast The Only Opinion That Matters, was in several metal and hardcore bands, and is an aspiring screenwriter.

Review

Dance Gavin Dance has had a tumultuous history, bouncing between no fewer than three singers along with other minor lineup changes, including longtime screaming vocalist Jon Mess leaving (briefly) and returning. When Tillian Pearson took over, the thought that was surely on the minds of Dance Gavin Dance fans was "I wonder how long this one will last?" And yet, here we are four albums later, and not only is Tillian Pearson still the vocalist, but the band has produced some of its strongest material. Artificial Selection continues this trend, and while it doesn't exactly innovate or take risks, fans of Dance Gavin Dance will undoubtedly find a lot to love.

In a truly refreshing move considering how short some recent albums by alternative and metal bands have been, this album contains 14 full songs and runs for almost a full hour. Opening with the song "Son of Robot" is a smart choice. The song leads with soft guitars before launching into a harsh flurry of vocals by Jon Mess. Almost as if introducing each band member, we get a stand out drum fill followed by a bridge by Tillian, and finally, the rest of the band chiming in with some frenetic, technical guitar work. Between this opening track, "Midnight Crusade" and standout single, "Care", Dance Gavin Dance has crafted some of the most finely tuned songs, with catchy choruses that will be stuck in your head long after you make it through the first run through the record.

Although not new, a welcome recurring element that makes it onto this album is the funk and groove elements noticeable not only in the bass and guitar riffs, but also in the flow of Tillian's vocals. "Suspended in This Disaster," "Count Bassy" and "Slouch" introduce bass lines and riffs that channel these distinct elements, and help break up the songs on the album that hang more on Tiilian's pop vocals. While Dance Gavin Dance's previous album found a nice balance between the heavy and frenetic screaming of Jon Mess and Tillian's smooth, highly-produced vocals, this album seems to give a slight edge to Tillian, at least in terms of parts that stand out. Jon Mess's parts can, at times, feel like a way of breaking up Tillian's vocals and not their own distinct additions. Still, songs like "The Rattler" give Jon Mess a chance to shine.

Admittedly, the songs start to get a little less interesting as the album progresses, including songs like "Story of My Bros," a weird divergence into straight up pop-punk/easycore. The true success of the album's latter half is in its callbacks to DGD's past. "Shelf Life" brings Kurt Travis, DGD's second vocalist, to trade verses with Tillian, producing a satisfying melodic track and the final song, "Evaporate," closes with lyrics ripped straight from "Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine" sure to inspire feelings of nostalgia. The broad array of styles explored on this album, along with these inclusions, give Artificial Selection a reflective quality, almost as if the band is looking back at its history and creating an album that sums up everything they are.

The weakest part of Artificial Selection, and this should come as no surprise to fans, is the lyrics. While the hooks of songs are memorable, there is not a lot of depth to anything produced by either Tillian or Jon, and I don't think any lines are worth any deep dives. In this way, and in the way that this album sticks to familiar ground, Artificial Selection is one of the least risky albums produced by DGD. But honestly? With choruses that catchy and songs that well-produced, its hard to really care.

Score

8.5/10

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://spinditty.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)