Gang Gang Dance

God's Money

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Thankfully, the Internet has boundless space, all the better to cope with the twaddle bouncing around the Web about Gang Gang Dance and their latest album. Perhaps people are somewhat baffled that the band is as much a live unit as a studio concern, thus throwing off musical perceptions. Freak-folk, art-noise, tribal dub, you name a whacked-out hybrid description, and it's been applied by someone to this group. Take 'em off-stage, though, and what you really have is an ambient electronic unit that's no more or less experimental than anything coming out on, say, the DiN label. "God's Money I" and "God's Money V," for instance, are both built around tribal drum rhythms, the former with wailing vocals on top, the latter in a more experimental, almost Tetsu Inoue mode. "God's Money IX," in contrast, rolls with thunder and is a much darker piece, while "God's Money VII" is filled with ambient textures. "Before My Voice Fails" reaches ethereal proportions, while both "Untitled (Piano)" and "Egowar" feature gorgeous synth passages. Even the noisy, fractured "Glory in Itself/Egyptian" has a melody lurking within. The most challenging number, however, is "Nomad for Love (Cannibal)," where shards of musical bits and pieces are only loosely woven together. The Gang's rhythms and textures are intriguing, and much more accomplished in sound than their previous lo-fi efforts. What throws the group for a loop however, are Liz Bougatsos' vocals: chanted, singsong babbled, howled, and wailed in turn. Her presence almost solely pulls the Gang out of the ambient world and into another far more disturbing and experimental galaxy entirely. Without her, God's Money would be a haunting journey through an ever-shifting electronic world, where textures and rhythms are explored to oftentimes great effect. With her, the musical experience is far more difficult, as she cuts across the grain of the atmospheres and moods, suggesting the group will never sit comfortably in any niche but its own.

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