When it was announced that Jonny Craig would be coming back to DGD, I wasn't sure what to expect. Teaming back up after all that time apart? Downtown Battle Mountain was one of my favorite CDs of all time and that had been 4 years ago. They had some high expectations to live up to, especially after Self Titled and Happiness were so good. As soon as I got my hands on DBM2, I played it. I was nervous. But then the first song "Spooks" came on. And my fears were immediately laid to rest. The arpeggio guitar intro followed by Jonny's "Foo--ool your word means shit"came out of the gate and told us that they were back. They were going to take no prisoners and just go for it. If there was ever a question about whether or not they would be able to follow up DBM, it was answered within the first 5 seconds of the CD.
This CD blows my mind. Every song, amazing. Even the songs I didn't like, I love now.
Highlight of this CD is obviously Jonny Craig. He is so good. There is a part in every song where I will listen to the song just to hear Jonny. Beginning of Spooks. "Riiiise abboove!" in Pounce Bounce. "And I swear this won't end soon" in Robot with Human Hair. Beginning of Thug City. "give it up" in Need Money. All of Elder Goose. "Feel the cracks of my skin, feel the souls of my feet now go" from Heat Seeking Ghost of Sex. "I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost you" in Blue Dream. "I won't let it break my self esteem" in Privilously Poncheezied. "My words are cheap, my thoughts are deep, cutting right through your soul" in Swan Soup. Everything in Purple Reign. He has swag, soul, sadness and passion in every note he sings. He is not a technical musician, but he knows melody like no one else that I can think of.
And that's not to say he's the only good part. Matt Mingus is incredible on the kit. He's been good forever. I especially love his use of double bass. His whole style is really tight and controlled, providing the perfect backing, but also being very talented once examined. Will Swan on the guitar is amazing, providing so many varied types of riffs, perfectly executed.
It sits on this weird boundary of art that's suppose to make sense but the thing itself actually does not make a whole lot of sense. Jon Mess has said in the past that lots of his lyrics are dreams he's had, and Jonny Craig's lyrics are mostly about sleeping with girls; none of them really fit that cohesively together. However, they fit melodically. They interrupt each other enough to not let the other get boring. The two bonus tracks, while decent, are not on the same level as the cd. The reason: only one singer on each of them. So, were stuck. If they can't write a piece of music that makes sense, and have it work, what do you do? You feel the music. There's a soul in there that comes out like it does in post rock. There are no words in postrock, yet it is emotionally impacting. It doesn't matter what mess is yelling about and its almost irrelevent what jonny is singing (unless you are obsessed with girls. Then its spot on swag).