It’s Everything Time
In interviews leading up to the release of Gang Gang Dance’s magnetic and majestic new album Eye Contact, Brian DeGraw stated that the title signified a more “wide-eyed approach” to making music and an effort to better connect with the band’s listeners. It’s also fitting foreshadowing as it seems to predict what for many of those listeners will be a game-changing, revelatory and yes, eye-opening aural experience.
Like the dawn of a new day, the album awakens with the gleaming, 11-minute opus “Glass Jar.” Though the song’s length may seem daunting, it works beautifully as both introduction to and summary of the record as a whole. It enchants and enthralls with patient piano and synth layers that eventually bloom with propulsive percussion patterns and Lizzi Bougatsos’s inimitable vocals. The song tells a story of rebirth, and sounds the part.
If no individual song quite surpasses that initial level of ambition, each of the remaining six (plus three instrumental interludes that weave each suite together seamlessly) manages to match and maintain its beauty. Bougatsos has never sounded more like a true frontwoman than she does here, with many of her unique vocal turns delivering singable choruses. She proved her knack for this with Saint Dympnha diamond in the rough “House Jam,” but she positively revels in it here. Particularly so on exhilarating second single “MindKilla,” which one blog commenter rightfully described as “Silent Shout if it were released by C+C Music Factory.”
Elsewhere, dark horse highlights include “Romance Layers,” a sexy Prince-like funk ballad featuring guest vocals from Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, and the climactic cinematic sweep of closer “Thru and Thru.” A live staple for years, it’s a breathless Bollywood banger that provides the album’s best showcase for new drummer Jessie Lee, who shows more control and overall consistency on the kit from song to song than original member Tim DeWitt.
The album ends abruptly with a cryptic, almost robotic voice whispering “live forever.” It could be a mission statement or simply wishful thinking. Either way, with Eye Contact, Gang Gang Dance may finally be able to do exactly that. After years of being the unsung heroes of Brooklyn’s experimental pop set, they’ve released a masterpiece that should grant them near immortal credibility in the ears of everyone.