Who: Gang Gang Dance
What: Saint Dymphna
When: September 2008
Today’s review is a cautionary tale. This is a perfect example of algorithms gone very, very wrong. Apparently, if I’m a fan of These New Puritans, I might like this. Oooo.. K..
Just to start.. What sort of a pretentious name is Saint Dymphna? Who names their album after the patron saint of the mentally ill??
Anyway, after a pointlessly long intro, opener ‘Babey’ goes into some cool tribal drum beats and has fun with a bunch of strange instruments, all overlapping, which admittedly is pretty fun, but it really rather goes downhill from there, save for an actually pretty good ‘Princes’ which features Tinchy Stryder. Tinchy knows his way around a verse, and they really just get out of the way and let him do his thing. In fact the whole first half of the album is danceable enough, but only if you ignore singer Liz Bougatsos’ vocals, since she sounds like the annoying lovechild of Karen O and Björk – apparently this is the first album to bring her voice to the fore, which is a bit like saying “I got you a present, it’s a really annoying shrieking woman that never shuts up”. Aaw, you shouldn’t have.
The thing that lets the first half down is that it feels soo generic. There are plenty of perfectly nice swirling synth melodies, but they’re just, boring. The energy feels flat, and even ‘Vacuum’ a gorgeous, romantic, swooping number is just not engaging at all.
By the end of the first listen of ‘Inners Pace’ I’m really dreading even having to listen to this a second time, it’s annoying, and repetitive, which wouldn’t be a problem if what it was repeating was actually a nice noise, instead it’s just some weird loop of squeals and a girl screaming – dull, dull, endlessly dull. At the end of ‘Afoot’, there’s horrible metallic clangs and what sounds like a jackhammer added, and ‘Interlude (No Known Home)” sounds like failing dialup connection.
This is essentially just aural assault. I should get a medal for managing to sit through that twice.