Album Reviews

Gong

Rejoice! I’m Dead!

Artist:     Gong

Album:     Rejoice! I’m Dead!

Label:     Madfish

Release Date:     09/16/2016

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 With the death of Gong founder, Daevid Allen, there was every reason to expect that his band would give up the proverbial ghost. Nevertheless, the musical madness that became Gong’s psychedelic stamp over the years was in danger of dissolution long before, once they opted to make music outside the reign of creative conformity that’s mostly dictated the norms since their formative years nearly four decades ago.

Fortunately then, the band’s new album finds them freely dabbling in the eccentricity and experimentation that’s been their calling card from early on. Granted, it’s not as goofy and over the top as it was while under Allen’s oversight, but that freewheeling frenzy is obviously still apparent under the helm of his successors. Surprisingly, they sound like a more adventurous version of Yes, especially on tracks like “The Thing That Should Be,” “Rejoice!” and “Insert Yr Own Prophecy,” where the massed vocal harmonies lend an effusive aura that propels the proceedings along.

As a result, Rejoice! I’m Dead! is easily the band’s most accessible effort yet. There’s a sense of exuberance and exhilaration present in these grooves, a feeling that the possibilities are still unlimited, if not unhinged. Whether the new album will get them anywhere close to the mainstream remains to be seen. Most likely it won’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t root for them all the same.

-Lee Zimmerman

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