Review ·

The members of Gang Gang Dance are excellent conjugators. Like many of their previous records, Saint Dymphna is an object lesson in how to coalesce manifold genres without collapsing under a weight of influences. They’re one of the few bands that can grab from multiple sources and not sound like they’re wearing oven mitts at the mixing stage. Crucially, they also appear to regard repetition as a stultifying experience, meaning each record bears a distinct character that’s quite unlike anything else they’ve done.

Saint Dymphna opens with a skewer of light in the form of “Bebey.” One minute into the song and it’s clear that dance music has exerted an even tighter grip over the band in the years since 2005’s God’s Money. Certain hallmarks from their previous incarnation remain, such as the tight clattering percussion and Lizzie Bougatsos’s remarkable ability to assimilate the vocal inflections of Ari Up, Kate Bush, Gina Birch and Bjork.

But the effusive groove of “First Communion” plays like a band falling in love with pop. Indeed, plenty of the beats and textures that coarse through Saint Dymphna's veins have more in common with super-pop production houses like Xenomania than they do with Gang Gang Dance’s contemporaries. The instrumentation of “First Communion” could even work as a Girls Aloud song, which might be anathema in indie-rock circles but serves as a perfectly logical step to anyone following Gang Gang Dance’s trajectory.

“Princes” is notable for its contribution from U.K. grime artist Tinchy Stryder. It sounds a little dated, but only because most grime tracks forfeit their crucial immediacy if they’re not hastily white labeled and fed through 4 a.m. pirate-radio airwaves. It’s a small misstep that momentarily knocks the album off-kilter and rises from the band’s tireless infatuation with cross-pollinating genres.

They regain shape with the clacking percussion of “Afoot,” which resembles a group of kids rattling steel fences with baseball bats. Then, like a larval caterpillar emerging from its pupal stage, the band fully realizes its vision for Saint Dymphna with “House Jam.” Like “First Communion,” the song is straight-out dance-floor-oriented pop. It’s a compound of ideas and influences borrowed from disparate sources such as Timbaland, post-punk, Daft Punk and world music.

Like most of Gang Gang Dance’s work, “House Jam” shouldn’t work, but it does. Part of the album’s appeal is discovering a band with the ambition to pool such divergent source material. But they expertly funnel it into cogency, creating a sound that is their own. It’s rare to find a band with such breadth of vision, and although indie kids might balk at Saint Dymphna’s shameless embrace of the dance floor, the rest of us will be lost in its agitated reverie.






  • Bebey
  • First Communion
  • Blue Nile
  • Vacuum
  • Princes
  • Inners Pace
  • Afoot
  • House Jam
  • Interlude (No Known Home)
  • Desert Storm
  • Dust

The Brooklyn trio Gang Gang Dance release their followup album after their 2005 well-received output, "God's Money." Named after the patron saint of outsiders, "Saint Dymphma" is packed with more dance and electronic outfits than previous. Yet this album has a much more refined focus steering you in the direction that Gang Gang Dance wants to take you. The worldly and ritualistic elements of their music are fully realized when one commits entirely to the grim and dubstep to experience a supreme out of body reaction. Gang Gang Dance continues to blend their past and present influences ranging from Eno to Timbaland to Tetsu Inoue. It's an album that will have you licking your lips for more sugar. The Social Registry, who is putting out the album, has this to say, "...punk snarl on the vocals and a beat that resembles the omnipresent sound of reggaeton flooding the NYC streets during summer months." Sounds fantastic.


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The Annuals - Such Fun Hearts of Palm UK For Life

... and you should check out Grandcrew's video of a Gang Gang Dance concert in Paris:


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