Before the release of The New Deal in 2001, sound+light released two live compilations (one, the group's first performance together); a third live effort documented a two-night run at New York's Bowery Ballroom during the spring of 2002. Gone, Gone, Gone is an eagerly anticipated follow-up to the New Deal's previous work, one that may displease old fans at the same time as it receives radio airplay.
Rather than again trying to re-create a live New Deal experience, this album is a trip in an exciting new direction. The biggest difference between Gone, Gone, Gone and the band's previous work is the addition of vocals, which are highlighted on a couple of tracks. The album's "Intro" has Kurtz singing a Beach Boys-styled six-part harmony with himself before segueing directly into a vocoder-heavy (think Frampton Comes Alive) version of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love." "Don't Blame Yourself," featuring the sultry vocals of Feist, is the band's attempt at a jazzy electronic single; it sounds likes Zero 7 and has the possibility of being both a pop hit and a massive remix. A number of tracks change directions halfway through, moving from ambient to a ferocious drum 'n' bass or breakbeat pace almost instantaneously.
Despite all the experimentation and calculated variety, this is still the New Deal, and a number of tracks such as the bouncing "VL Tone" or the lush title track feature the band's trademark sound: punishing synthesizers playing ethereal tones, heavy house beats, and the buildup of aural tension to an orgasmic point of release. The New Deal provides satisfying dance music without the built-up pretentiousness usually found in DJ culture.