Published Feb 17, 2009Once a conduit for rhythmic blowouts, nomadic droning and experiments in how not to carry a tune, Brooklyn's Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudais have had an extreme makeover at the hands of TV On the Radio sound sculptor David Sitek. As he's done with his band, as well as numerous others, Sitek has helped the duo find a sound that maximizes their potential, one overloaded with creeping reverb and balmy, expansive melodies. Compared to their two EPs for the Social Registry, Dance Mother radiates with the confidence and control that was previously concealed by their appetite for experimentalism. They still roll out tribal percussion and heavy drones with macabre lyrical imagery, it's just everything is now coloured with a newfound fascination for hazy atmospheres and a staggering selection of melodies. As heavy as it is on referencing drone, shoegaze and pop there's as much room for electro, dub and hip-hop in their aspirations. For instance, "Chrome's On It" is laden with rebounding vocal hooks that flutter in the contrasting machinegun beats and crystalline, Cocteau Twin guitars, and the epic "Trilogy" submerses itself in deep sub-bass and scattered break beats. With its indulgence in balancing technology, primal instincts and melody, Dance Mother has found a dynamic that gives Telepathe the distinct honour of becoming innovators of pop music.
Why did you choose David Sitek to produce?
Livaudais: We were looking for someone that could think outside the box, someone who could think beyond nu-disco and indie rock. This person is Dave Sitek. He absolutely despises indie rock and he never questioned our vision. He only wanted to take our vision and make it sound infinite.
Was it difficult to maintain the experimental side of your music while exploring what you can do with pop?
No, quite the opposite; it was difficult to cleanse ourselves of our experimental sides to make more structured music. However, I still think Dance Mother is pretty experimental.
Seeing as there has been significant growth in that time, would you say this album is still only the tip of the iceberg?
Yes, this album is only the beginning. We have grown so much since we made that record that we really want to up the ante for the next one. Music just wouldn't be any fun to us if we always stayed in the same place.
Your live performances bring a club element to the music.
Subs! That's truly a very important part of our music, because we love bass. Plans to have our record remastered in the future by a hip-hop mastering engineer are underway. (I Am Sound)