For long-time fans, Rawwar, Gang Gang Dance’s latest EP, may come as a bit of a shock. You see, Rawwar is pretty listener-friendly, at least compared to the band’s previous work. Sure, it’s not exactly a Shins record, but it still represents a considerable shift in sound for GGD; the first track actually features conventional vocals. But without their sonic sucker-punches, can Gang Gang Dance still capture the same brilliance that defined their earlier work?
Yeah, they pretty much can. While the first two tracks of the EP could fall under the neutral umbrella of solidity, the third and final track, ‘The Earthquake That Frees Prisoners’, is what truly makes the record. A masterwork composed of ambient tones, echoed cries, tribal drum rhythms, and looped snippets of what sounds like a hallucinogenic soliloquy, Gang Gang Dance makes no efforts to hide that ‘Earthquake’ is Rawwar’s raison d’etre. Clocking in at almost eleven minutes, the track takes up over half the EP, and is surely what most listeners will walk away remembering about it. The first two tracks are merely exposition, and ‘Earthquake’ the core of the record.
As can be expected when a band makes a stylistic shift such as GGD are on Rawwar, fans will be lost in the process. But at the same time, GGD are proving themselves as something more than the avant-garde niche-band most had them pegged for. No longer confined by their fans expectations, if they ever were to begin with, GGD are presenting themselves as a band to be taken seriously, as a band genuinely interested in their own artistic worth. While most modern bands are content to stagnate in their own safety, GGD are not. And for that alone, i applaud them.
[From the Rawwar EP out now on The Social Registry]