Music: Eye Contact by Gang Gang Dance ****
Published 06/05/2011 | 05:00
Five albums into their career and the New York art-rock quartet have found a happy place where their wildly disparate influences merge cohesively.
This is a band who attach equal importance to prog-rock, electronica and tribal beats -- among other vagaries -- and fashion songs that take the listener into unexpected, somewhat challenging territory.
Factor in Lizzi Bougatsos' ethereal vocals and you have an album quite unlike anything I've heard from an American act in quite some time.
Lengthy opener Glass Jar is typical of their scant regard for sonic boundaries: wistful, summery synths collide with vintage psychedelia and striking electroclash and yet, to the band's immense credit, this catch-all approach doesn't grate or feel too contrived.
And there are several inspired moments too, not least the deliciously odd duet between Bougatsos (sounding like a vocoderised Sade) and Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor on the propulsive, bass-heavy disco wonder Romance Layers.
Eye Contact may not be the crossover album that many expected, but, as an exercise in leftfield experimentalism, it's exemplary.
Incidentally, fellow New Yorkers Animal Collective have selected GGD to perform at the ATP Festival they're curating next weekend in Minehead, England.
Burn it: Glass Jar; Romance Layers
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