Downtown Battle Mountain II (CD)
Dance Gavin Dance's fifth album sees the original lineup from the group's debut back intact. Fans might have their own favorite singers and screamers from the band's discography, so it's a personal opinion whether or not Jonny Craig and Jon Mess are the strongest duo. Craig's expressive melodic singing is a fine fit and counterpoint to the aggressive hard rock of his bandmates. Mess doesn't fare as well. His high-pitched, frazzled wailing is mostly unintelligible. On many tracks, he growls gratingly about basketball or other subjects seemingly unrelated to the given song. The 11 songs of Downtown Battle Mountain II don't stray far from a Linkin Park meets screamo formula, though "Blue Dream" bizarrely introduces lite funk and soul passages. It's a par for the course screamo affair at best, with Craig's vocal prowess begging for more interesting song structures and more mature subject matter from his screaming partner.
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