Dismemberment Plan - ! (Cover Artwork)

Dismemberment Plan

! (1995)


I'm currently in school, so you can imagine all the dumb girls and boys I see on a daily basis creaming themselves over (in my opinion) lackluster indie rock bands like the Shins and Death Cab for Cutie while listening on their iPods which somehow match their hip outfits. I usually wouldn't care about what's popular right now with the hip crowd because in all honesty, I have been out of the loop for what's cool for the last twenty years of my life. But what irks me is the fact that boundary-pushing bands like Dismemberment Plan get almost no respect and love from the kids digging indie rock today. Thanks to Adam Brody and the rest of the posers on "The OC."

This is the band's first full-length and as expected, sticks closest to the boundaries set by punk and hardcore emo. I don't think I'm too off-base to describe the band as "Nations of Ulysses gone totally schizo." The guitar playing and tone is certainly very similar to NOU. Just imagine more funk in the bass lines pulsing to create an underlying groove meshed with Steve Cummings slightly dance-influenced drumming to make up one of the most solid rhythm sections. They're pretty crucial in the varying time signatures, syncopated rhythms, and the many start-stops the band nails effortlessly. Along with the early emo contrasts in loud and soft dynamics, the band is pretty exciting musically.

What really makes the Dismemberment Plan the Dismemberment Plan is front-man Travis Morrison. His delivery reminds me of Dane Cook fronting a band, hypothetically. At first he's all chatty and just talking, setting up the punch line. Then out of nowhere, OMG he's screaming and talking really loud and everyone is in hysterics. I feel that Travis Morrison is the indie rock equivalent. His voice is comforting and polite and then in complete juxtaposition, he's shouting the vocals in your ear. He also has a great sense of humor and melody and his storytelling, especially on later albums, is a refreshing contrast to most of the bands on my playlist. He has a real knack for just finding simple ideas and looking at them in a completely different manner. Not to mention, "Ok Jokes Over" is the best breakup song I've ever heard.

If you're looking for a groundbreaking pop record, I'd recommend their best album, Emergency and I. This record has some hints of what is to come but overall, it's a bit too inconsistent. They don't even have any of that synth yet that's so prominent on the later records. I really dig this but their later stuff is even better.