Published Jun 20, 2018There are not a lot of voices quite like that of Lizzi Bougatsos. One moment it's a tender lilt, the next an otherworldly howl; her voice has become an instrument in its own right and a key part of Gang Gang Dance's immersive sound. It's been some time since we last heard that voice, and on their first record since 2011, the band show that, despite their time off, they haven't lost sight of what makes them unique. Best of all, they're able to pick right up where they left off.
Their last record, Eye Contact opened with the lines "I could hear everything / It's everything time," a line that effectively sums up the sensory overload that is a Gang Gang Dance record. Indeed, Kazuashita features plenty of the idiosyncratic songwriting style, whirlwind Bougatsos performances and moments of synth-driven catharsis that permeates through their work. But it feels more restrained, more accessible and less given to moments of impulsive experimentation.
This shouldn't come as a huge shock; back on Eye Contact, the band showed some nods toward pop songcraft in the group's own idiosyncratic way. Tracks like "J-Tree" and "Lotus" are some of the groups more immediate material on the record, but are still compelling enough in their own right to compete with the band's wilder material.
While it might be easy to think Gang Gang Dance sacrifice their wild spirit for pop hooks and accessibility on Kazuashita, that's rarely the case. All the elements that have made for their most enjoyable material are still here, and the band shows they are just as capable as they have always been at captivating listeners. (4AD)