Acceptance Speech

At first blush, Sacramento’s Dance Gavin Dance—with their grab bag of influences, abstruse song titles and seemingly endless membership drama—are easily dismissed as just another entry into the pack of melodic mall-metal bands. But if you pierce this unflattering facade, DGD has a lot to offer, not just in terms of chops—which the band exhibits in spades—but also with a penchant for hook-driven choruses and a surprising sincerity. DGD may be weird, but at least they’re honest. The band’s sound exists somewhere between the unabashed prog metal of Coheed and Cambria, and the somewhat schlocky bro-core of bands like Saosin and Chiodos. DGD isn’t afraid to get dirty, with co-vocalist Jon Mess’ tortured screams flying over the spasmic, overeager riffing featured on the album’s first four tracks. But the band’s real strength, and the yin to Mess’ aggressive yang, is the preternaturally high-register vocals of DGD’s other frontman, Tilian Pearson. Pearson’s soulful countertenor manages to redeem Acceptance Speech’s dull heavy passages with standout moments on “The Robot with Human Hair Pt. 4” and even the somewhat sophomoric “Honey Revenge.” However, whether DGD is simply a clever curiosity, or something more, remains to be seen.