Office of Future Plans - Office of Future Plans (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Office of Future Plans

Office of Future Plans: Office of Future Plans

Office of Future Plans (2011)

Dischord Records


3.5
J. Robbins is a consistent songwriter. From Jawbox to Burning Airlines to Channels, the guy has reliably turned out alt-rock that covers a lot of bases without overextending itself. Sometimes he goes for riff-rock, or math-rock, or post-hardcore. But even going as far back as his time with Governmen...

J. Robbins is a consistent songwriter. From Jawbox to Burning Airlines to Channels, the guy has reliably turned out alt-rock that covers a lot of bases without overextending itself. Sometimes he goes for riff-rock, or math-rock, or post-hardcore. But even going as far back as his time with Government Issue, Robbins has shown a knack for melody that gives his songs a certain amount of popular appeal. He's an indie icon for sure, but in an alternate universe, he's an upper tier legend for sure.

With a family life and a production career firmly in place, Robbins doesn't necessarily need to keep writing music. Indeed, after Channels' 2006 effort Waiting For the Next End of the World, it seemed like Robbins was done. But here we are, five years later, with Robbin's latest group, Office of Future Plans. In many ways, the group feels of a piece with its frontman's discography. Heck, Channels drummer Darren Zentek is even back behind the kit. But there are certain flourishes that make the record stand out.

For starters, there's cellist/guitarist Gordon Withers. He actually recorded a cello tribute to Jawbox a few years ago; now he's in a band with Robbins. Talk about a dream job. But Withers pulls his weight, whether its lending some atmosphere on songs like "Your Several Selves" or adding extra weight to rockers like "The Beautiful Barricades," Withers is a welcome addition. While his cello is generally kept to the background, much like Cursive's <>Domestica and Ugly Organ records, there are certain moments that just absolutely demand this extra instrumentation.

Office of Future Plans also carries a slightly more psychedelic quality compared to Burning Airlines or Jawbox. It's in the way the songs head for spacey territory where once Robbins would simply shred. The occasionally warped effects on the vocals. The mere addition of atmospheric elements. These things make Office of Future Plans stand out.

While it's not the best work Robbins has produced--that Jawbox run is unimpeachable--Office of Future Plans proves that the master is still motivated. Sure, the record repeats some of Robbins's tendencies as a songwriter, but this is still top-notch post-hardcore masked as alt-rock.