Post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance has never been one to play it safe. But what’s life without a little risk? With an experimental sound and seemingly unorthodox song structures, the group has effectively charged to the front of the pack. The band has worked hard for over ten solid years of music, despite near-constant changes in lineup.
The five-piece act recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary with the release of their second live album, Tree City Sessions. Some of Dance Gavin Dance’s best tracks from the past decade undergo a re-imagining in this album. Fan-favorite tracks are presented in a new way with a collection of their most stand-out tracks recorded live from the band’s hometown, Sacramento, Calif.
Additionally, they’ve re-recorded the songs alongside the band’s newest vocalist, Tilian Pearson. He brings a kind of breathy softness to the songs– reinventing the tracks that allowed the band to flesh out their existence in the first place.
The album kicks off with Alex English, originally from the band’s sophomore self-titled album. The track is brimming with layers of distortion and intricate guitar parts featuring guitarist Will Swan’s customary mash-up between playful and aggressive riffs. There’s also an assortment of the band’s famed back and forth vocals right from the get-go. Pearson’s clean vocals are artfully balanced with the screaming vocals of John Mess.
Tree Village starts off softly and builds as the song progresses with complex instrumentation, adding depth and creating a vividly complex mood. Listeners can hear Pearson really grab hold of the vocals in this track, sung previously by Kurt Travis, and make them his own. The live recording sound of each track adds a whole new layer of grit to the band’s already satisfyingly rugged sound.
There’s something to be found in each of the 12-tracks here. Ambitious and invigorating, Tree City Sessions serves as a statement of intent– letting everyone know that this will be the Dance Gavin Dance that will stick around for years to come.