Gang Gang Dance Glass Jar
I’ve been wondering about this: the follow-up LP to Gang Gang Dance’s Saint Dymphna. New material has been two and a half years in the making, but finally some new output from Eye Contact (due 9th May) has leaked. Gang Gang Dance were always a band I thought- on gut-instinct- were wilfully inaccessible to radio-listening audiences. Their music appeared to run creative process through a bleakly mechanical avant-garde play-doh machine and inject eccentricity into their sound and writing to just such a perfectly superficial and sufficient extent that the result was in fact balance: a sort of ordered chaos. There was something of a pre-meditated calculation going on, like the pop re-brandings of Madonna, Britney Spears and others that carefully constructed unconventionality.
Saint Dymphna was certainly varied; indeed it seemed to be deliberately as unpredictable as possible. ‘House Jam’ stomped encouragingly with gall and flair, and ‘Princes’, featuring the then breaking Tinchy Stryder was just one of the most surreal collaborations of hip-hop and...something, I ever heard. Other parts though- most parts in my view, fell short: dank, grey and dutifully pretentious. An acquired taste certainly. Even then the LP was less ultra-unconventional than the band’s many preceding EPs.
So ‘Glass Jar’ (or whatever first track that was going to be leaked) was never going to be something you could play your Mum. The track begins with a male voiceover: “I can hear everything. It’s everything time”, which is the cue for a gentle 11-minute journey that begins with ambient synths and the sound of running streams, and builds gradually to encompass electro beats and steel drums. Singer Lizzi Bougatsos (imagine what it might sound like to sing with your mouth permanently in a whistling shape, and that’ll be her) then joins in halfway through.
For a song that’s this long and uses so many psychedelic aural knick-knacks, ‘Glass Jar’ is light and doesn’t gorge on the mawkish toffee apple of experimental flirtation that characterised Saint Dymphna. Nor, to me, does it push any other button, however. So what, exactly, is it? Where Gang Gang Dance will go on the new LP is endlessly fun speculation, but an answer is enigmatic, much like the band. Perhaps the fact that this a massive track that's full of all the bombastic gadgetry that would be necessary to qualify the new record as extremely ambitious, but that it fails to leave an impression, indicates that nothing much has changed.