A mixed but at times inspired return...

Gang Gang Dance's lengthy hiatus was unexpected for a band that seemed unstoppable, especially since the release of their subliminal 2007 'Saint Dymphna' followed by the critically acclaimed 'Eye Contact' four years later.

Now, seven years since that last release, 'Kazuashita' comes with a lot of anticipation. 'Kazuashita' holds the elements that made the New York band so blissfully monumental to begin with: a global voyage of electro anchored on a bed of experimental shoegaze-rock.

After a sonically blitzing introduction, 'J-Tree' enters cooly, with a confident synth hook opening that betrays upbeat pop markers. Then the track unexpectedly evolves into powerful ambiance, emotively carrying a weighty message in salutation of the natural world.

'Lotus' moves into gorgeously layered grime-pop territory, a volatile masterpiece which makes for an absolutely superb song. Then something happens during the title track, the eight-minute long “Kazuashita”, which comes mid-way through the album. It is not a bad song - but it lacks the drive required for such a lengthy slot, and fragments the listening experience at such a pivotal moment in the album.

'Young Boy (Marika in Amerika)' resets the pace, laced with enticingly demonic synths. But the album stumbles again during 'Snake Dub' and 'Too Much, Too Soon', before recuperating with the mindful 'Salve On The Sorrow'.

'Kazuashita' is carefully composed, every layer, every detail, mapped together as if instructing the listener exactly how to experience it. Yet this is the problem with a record so meticulously interwoven: if one or two tracks lack the standard of its predecessor, it makes the listening challenging.

All in all, this is a good album. While it has some magnificent moments, it doesn't quite come together enough to make a for a completely stellar ride.


Words: Charis McGowan

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