The Dismemberment Plan Emergency & I

[DeSoto; 1999]

Rating: 5/5

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

I know everyone who writes for "Tiny Mixtapes" loves this album. Someone had to review it. I'll take the load, and hope that I don't get flak for not saying enough good things. I will, however, start with this: Emergency & I is NOT a perfect album. It is not the landmark of pop that will spawn a new generation of Dismemberment Plan soundalikes. This aside, Emergency & I was and continues to be an absolutely stellar album.

Everyone seems to have their own best-loved tracks; mine are the catchy "Gyroscope", cerebral "Spider in the Snow", and shoutin' rock anthem "What Do You Want Me to Say?". I can at least tolerate all the songs on this album (true of very few these days), but am faced to admit that "I Love a Magician" is neither pleasant nor a very good song, lyrically or musically. Similarly, "You Are Invited" will become tiresome after numerous listens. 

With two somewhat subpar songs, how does this album still score so high? You'd better believe that the remainder of the album is absolutely fabulous. Without doing a complete rundown of each piece of original, intelligent quirky pop here, without a description of the amazing drumming and vocalizing, let me merely give you a bit of advice: save that $15 you're about to blow on the new Weezer album, and buy Emergency & I direct from DeSoto. Put the extra cash towards a ticket to see these boys live.

1. A Life of Possibilities
2. Memory Machine
3. What Do You Want Me to Say?
4. Spider in the Snow
5. The Jitters
6. I Love a Magician
7. You Are Invited
8. Gyroscope
9. The City
10. Girl O'Clock
11. 81/2 Minutes
12. Back and Forth