The Dismemberment Plan !

[DeSoto; 1995]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: post punk, indie rock
Others: Les Savy Fav, Burning Airlines, The Plastic Constellations

The further back you tread in the Dismemberment Plan's catalog, the more you will find yourself shaking your booty to the latest dance steps. The evidence is in the faster, louder, quirkier, poppier, and crazier songs of their exclamatory debut album.

Aside from the fact that The Plan of the past and present both entangle abrasive guitar work with unique vocals, the Washington, D.C. band has gone through some major changes. The songs from the Plan's past are noticeably more punk and less slick than the more complex and climactic songs of its present. This is not saying that the band's freshman effort is just normal punk rock. It still separates itself from the herd with dissonant chords, surprising time changes and unique song structures -- elements we all love in The Plan's music.

Album opener "Survey Says" is an awkward, Brainiac-influenced, in-your-face punk song. But the song remains unique via its 5/4 time signature during the verses and trademark Travis Morrison screams and yelps. Songs such as "The Small Stuff" and "I'm Going to Buy You a Gun" hint at the pop creativity The Plan came to exploit so well on later efforts. The former features ingredients of songs from Is Terrified, albeit strung together with a different recipe, while the latter has a poppy bounce reminiscent of songs like "Spider In The Snow" from Emergency & I. "Soon to be Ex-Quaker" sounds like something straight off the Ramones' Rocket to Russia. The exclamation point album is appropriately closed with the evocative half instrumental - half punk rawk song "Rusty."

If you were to buy one album to get the essence of The Plan, this is definitely not the album to start with. It's not as full a representation of the band's current repertoire as either of their subsequent efforts. But The Plan's first album will help you appreciate the band's amazing progress toward becoming one of the most unique post-punk indie bands in today's scene. So after you shell out cash for their latest albums, go back and purchase this punk pop tart, you dig?

1. Survey Says
2. The Things That Matter
3. The Small Stuff
4. Ok Jokes Over
5. Soon to Be Ex Quaker
6. I'm Going to Buy You a Gun
7. If I Don't
8. Wouldn't You Like to Know?
9. 13th and Euclid
10. Fantastic!
11. Onward, Fat Girl
12. Rusty