After listening to Mothership, I am now a converted DGD fan with a new found appreciation for Tillian Pearson.
Tillian’s vocals were great in Acceptance Speech. They were even better in Instant Gratification, but Mothership displays his true talent as a clean vocalist. He belts out killer vocal runs on tracks such as “Deception” and “Inspire the Liars”. His smooth transitions from quiet falsettos to intense, high strung yelling makes him a dynamic vocalist to listen to and an exciting one to watch live. Even his connection with Jon Mess is electric. Their vocals blend well together with Will Swan’s catchy riffs which make each song even more enjoyable. This formula of excellent clean and unclean vocals, experimental guitar riffs, hard hitting drums by Matt Mingus, and funky bass work by Tim Feerick is the perfect storm.
“Chocolate Jackalope” is an example of this perfect formula. In my opinion, the intro has the best riff on the album, showing off Will Swan’s instrumental chops. This track even gives listeners a little autotune, drake referenced rap portion by him. It sounds a little cringey, a little obnoxious, but when is a DGD album not cringey. Jon Mess’s lyrics are the epitome of this with lines like “he’s my widdle baby meow meow boo” (Chocolate Jackalope). “Petting Zoo Justice” features another golden line – “clip clop, clip clip clop Horse comes out and beats your parents up.” The lyricism is pure poetry.
Mothership definitely hits hard on tracks like “Philosopher King” and “Petting Zoo Justice.” Swan delivers magical guitar riffs from start to finish; no breaks, no chill. Matt Mingus’s double pedal accompaniment is a nice touch as well. The power metal elements contrast Tillian’s crooning vocals. This refreshing element exemplifies the experimental styling of DGD.
Unfortunately, “Exposed” and “Flossie Dickey Bounce” fell short for me. They seemed incomplete, something was missing. “Exposed” demonstrates Tillian’s vocal range but it would’ve been even better with Jon screaming along. On the other hand, “Flossie Dickey Bounce” lacked patience. It felt rushed, put together at the last minute, but not going to lie, the intro makes me laugh.
Overall, I give this album a 8.5 out of 10. I believe Dance Gavin Dance has found their perfect formula and I hope it will stay like that.
Favorite tracks: Young Robot, Frozen One, Deception, Inspire the Liars, Chocolate Jackalope, Philosopher King
Least favorite tracks: Exposed, Flossie Dickey Bounce