Gang Gang Dance, “Kazuashita”

Gang Gang Dance
Kazuashita
4AD
7/10

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra’s carousing, titular character from the film Pal Joey, seven years is a long time between drinks. Yet it’s been seven years since Brooklyn borough kings Gang Gang Dance roamed Greenpoint with their playful, clattering, percussion-rich, pop-tronic brand of avant-garde rock. With just a fistful of albums to their name since their formation in 2001 (and seriously, it feels as if they’ve been around for far longer), there are a fleeting few lingering themes, sounds, or directions that tie the musky, goofy music of this quintet together, save for an overall aesthetic of Dadaism and industrial morass that could best be compared to, say, Arthur Russell mixing it up with Marcel Duchamp. (That’s a compliment.)

Once personifying the adventurous, fresh feel of Brooklyn’s twenty-first century rise, the new GGD album Kazuashita takes into account the jadedness of the moment, to say nothing of the ennui and potential for dread on their work (calling GGD’s output “songs” doesn’t quite seem accurate), such as closing track “Salve on the Sorrow.”

Beyond that elegiac finale’s dense emotionalism and cluttered drumline funk, Kazuashita feels and sounds holier and sexier than their last effort, Eye Contact, from 2011. While torrid tracks such as “( infirma terrae )” and “( birth canal )” come across as naughty thought-bubbles from a ribald, cartoonish art-pervert (think Crumb or Pekar), the soulful, cloudy “Lotus” is a cheery, sensual, slow-grooving monster as filled with woozy atmosphere as it is slink and kink. Not since Duchamp’s “Bride Stripped Bare” has Dadaist flair been so titillating. 

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