By Ryan Asselin
In a genre often lacking musical diversity, post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance has changed the game. The group released its fifth studio album, Acceptance Speech, on Oct. 8.
Dance Gavin Dance, a band plagued by an unsteady lineup, may have finally found their missing piece. Tilian Pearson, the former lead singer for Tides of Man, was given the reigns to take the microphone and lead. Pearson’s famous high-pitched, harmonic voice is well on display on the new album, but now blends perfectly, unlike a lot of the vocals featured in the past.
Once former Dance Gavin Dance vocalist Jonny Craig ruined his second stint with the band, they decided to go in a different direction, ultimately for the better. Although Craig may have one of the better voices in the genre, his selfish personality got the best of him, setting him up for failure time after time.
Doubts loomed when the band decided that they wanted to replace Craig, but after touring with the band and now releasing Acceptance Speech, fans have definitely welcomed Pearson as the new lead singer. The music sounds different than the other albums, but this evolution was much needed.
The songwriting process behind Acceptance Speech differs from the band’s previous setup. In the past, songs were written based around certain words Craig would be able to hit well. Now, with Craig gone, songwriting has developed into more of an organized, team process. All lyrics are written after the music, but now the musicians write together with a desired meaning in mind.
Pearson’s voice allowed the band’s sound to change. Many post-hardcore bands stick to the clean vocal verse, breakdown, then screaming verse template for the majority of their songs. Thankfully, on the new album, Dance Gavin Dance acknowledges this trend and avoids conformity at all costs.
The band released 11 new songs on their newest album, including four songs that continue the stories of previously released works. A change in pace from typical Dance Gavin Dance, Acceptance Speech explores topics from politics and moral issues to having a good time; the album marks a break from more monotonous, sad post-hardcore music.
Catchier choruses and more developed lyrics changed the identity of Dance Gavin Dance once again. A new Dance Gavin Dance is here, hopefully to stay.