On Inspiration, On Instant Gratification

On Inspiration, On Instant Gratification

By Kacy Raby

                “His little throat labours with inspiration,

                 every feather

                on throat and breast and wings


–    William Blake

Does pure inspiration exist? Who’s to say? What would it embody? How would it be explained in simple terms?

It can’t.

One would hope that inspiration finds itself on the threshold of the mind of every human being who has existed and who will exist. To some, it arrives on the stoop of the subconscious, packaged, neatly, in a symmetrical box, adorned with a simple, elegant ribbon. And inside the box are carefully organized contents, complete with instruction manuals and a list of “tips and tricks” for other applications and uses: “For best results, apply to face twice daily. Do not ingest.”

To others, it bursts through the window, tied to a brick with more knicks and chips in it than a busy street in downtown Baltimore.

And to others still, it may be a delivery one could wait for hours upon days upon weeks upon months to arrive.

There is no training. No way to expect what form in which it may come tap-tap-tapping at your chamber door. The best possible thing to do is seek it out head on. Thirst for it. Demand inspiration.

Music has a way of inspiring people beyond the means of other media. The rhythms move us. The melodies transport us to a separate realm. The words transform the way we think and perceive the world around us.

Today, an example arrives upon the entrance of that subconscious need to be inspired and it’s beating down the door.

Enter: Dance Gavin Dance’s Instant Gratification


Here, we have a group of individuals who have stretched themselves thin in their struggle for stability. Their lineup has, at times, resembled that of a politician’s policies: ever changing with the tides of necessity.

For the time being, they have a solid formula that’s working extremely well. Regrettably, though, said formula has, at times, caused a tad too much familiarity from track to track. Some melodies possess too many qualities of others on the album and its predecessor, and the same could be said of a few rhythms throughout. But when it shines – and it does – that divine inspiration shows with clear precision.

Moments like the ending of “On The Run,” the first single released from the album, can forge a smile onto the orneriest of faces. From the pitch-perfect, controlled shrieks of Mess’ “ba da da’s,” to Swan’s and Pearson’s syncopated “hey’s” and anthemic “woah’s,” it creates a perfect moment of fun.

One of the more notable things that the latter half of this album does is it brings the heavy. Acceptance Speech, the group’s previous full-length, had its moments with songs like “Carve” but they pale in comparison to the second part of “Shark Dad” and the entirety of the monster that is “Variation.” Mixed with the pop leanings of Tilian Pearson’s recent endeavors, the dynamic is clear, fast-paced, and lasting.

DGD is a band that has always had a unique flair. That uniquity is what makes them so special. It’s what makes them an inspiring star in a galaxy over-populated by gas giants who burn through their resources too quickly and swirling masses of dust that haven’t yet settled on what they want to be.

If they continue to morph, experiment, and push the mold, the inspiration can be endless. Forever waiting for us to open the door and invite it in.

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