Category: Private Dancer

Review: Private Dancer, Alive In High Five

Private Dancer has one simple mission: to rock out. And that hasn’t changed now that the band is on album number two. The Minneapolis quintet knocked out a charmingly ragged, boisterous mix of garage-rock and psychedelia on its 2008 debut, Trouble Eyes, and its new follow-up, Alive In High Five, follows the template so closely it may as well have been titled Trouble Eyes Part II. Party anthems, monster riffs, and belt-’em-out choruses are still the order of the day, and there’s even a literal sequel in space-rocker “2,000 Year Wave,” following Trouble’s surf-inflected instrumental “1,000 Year Wave.”

But who needs change? Private Dancer’s appeal—particularly live, where it can be electrifying—is all about angst-free, uncomplicated enthusiasm for music, and it doesn’t need fixing. All five Dancers have extensive experience in other Twin Cities bands—three members of STNNNG, ex-Hockey Night drummer Alex Achen, and Vampire Hands’ Chris Rose—and the band benefits not only from their veteran chops, but the fact that as something of a side project, there’s no pressure to do anything but have fun.

That’s not to say the musical interplay here isn’t rich and complex; Alive is bursting with catchy nuggets of sound, and stands up well to repeat listens. Sometimes the rough edges could use a little more smoothing: Love song “Diane,” which shares a title with one of Grant Hart’s HüDüclassics, could also have benefited from a more sweetly sung, Hart-like vocal than the rough yelp Achen gives it. But that’s a minor quibble. Private Dancer’s best on the straight-up anthems like “Bajama Beach,” which sounds like some forgotten gem by The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, and the raucous “Weekend,” which boils down the band’s ethic of jubilant celebration over how great it is to play in bars on a Saturday night: “My friends, we work all weekend!” It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Originally published on July 16, 2010. Read the complete article.

Review: Private Dancer, Trouble Eyes

A glance at the cover art for Private Dancer’s 2009 debut EP, Trouble Eyes, declares up front one element of the band’s sound: Covered with trippy, melting eyes, it echoes the psychedelic artwork on 13th Floor Elevators albums. And indeed there’s some heavy ’60s surf-garage churning around in here, but Private Dancer gleefully merges that with thrashier, wilder noise that grabs elements of The Stooges, Pavement, and early Pixies—not surprising considering the band features members of STNNNG and Hockey Night, but it’s impressive the way they weave and dodge between beauty and powerful dissonance. In October, the group followed Eyes with a new single, pairing a pounding original garage tune, “Ride To Work,” with a passionate and pitch-perfect cover of the Count Five’s psychedelic classic “Psychotic Reaction.”

Originally published in A.V. Club Twin Cities.

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