Eye Contact is the fifth LP from New York’s Gang Gang Dance and marks their first release on new label 4AD. While the band have enjoyed critical acclaim throughout their career they have never achieved a great deal of commercial recognition or success, which is perhaps understandable given the experimental and unique nature of a lot of their work. From the outset it becomes obvious that Eye Contact will probably do little to change this. Opener ‘Glass Jar’ is nearly twelve minutes in length, the first three minutes of which seem to serve the sole purpose of doing well, not a lot. But be patient and you will be rewarded with a stunning, sprawling masterpiece. Euphoric, glimmering keyboards, massive, pounding drums and vocalist Liz Bougatsos’s other worldly wail creating an atmospheric, hypnotic and almost perfect opener.
For any band to dare to begin a record in such a fashion is an incredibly bold move and it’s testament to GGD’s ambition and drive that they pulled it off in such convincing style. The rest of the record follows suite, every track adventurous and daring, the range of instrumentation, sounds, styles and genres on show really is quite staggering. From the smooth, melodic soul of ‘Romance Layers’ which features vocals from Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, to the almost Bollywood (albeit with a 24th century makeover) esque ‘Chinese High’, to the absolutely insane sci-fi/tribal/rave monster that is ‘Thru and Thru’, Eye Contact has it all.
Eye Contact is a record that pushes boundries, one that is ambitious, forward thinking and bold throughout. It sees Gang Gang Dance emerge as a band whom are at the peak of the powers, a band unafraid to defy convention, a band capable of creating sounds that others cannot even imagine. They have crafted an original, unique and distinctive record but above all, a record that is consistently brilliant throughout exhilarating, captivating and easily one of the year’s finest releases.
From Alex Walker.