I was really taken aback by Change, the latest from the Dismemberment Plan. "Change" seemed like a gross understatement. Having been introduced to the Plan by the instant-gratification adrenaline rush of Emergency & I, I was a mite confused, needless to say, with what I heard Travis Morrison singing to me: "I'm an Old Testament kind of guy/ I like my coffee black and my parole denied" ("Sentimental Man"). But wait a second! Listen to the words: each song is a mini-biography of a shifty, uncomfortable person who doesn't want things to change ("Come Home"), or someone who can't stop change ("Superpowers"), or someone who has changed and is trying to explain their world view ("Following Through"). You get the idea. Bless the Plan for their apt choice of album names.
Musically, there's no one in music today doing anything quite like the Dismemberment Plan. This is pop music pushing the boundaries of what pop music should be, without having to resort to overproduced and mass-marketed gloss. It's post-punk indie rock with influences of everything else mixed in remember, this is the band that covered the bubble-gum hit "Crush" without a hint of irony.
On the acoustic number "Automatic," Travis sings with different layers of hurt of a rift in the not-so-distant past: "Once again the fireworks of bad ideas (you will, and I won't) light the sky with long-gone hate that comes from where it's automatic." And for the stunning three minutes and 45 seconds of "The Other Side," drummer Joe Easly hits the skins at something like 150 beats per minute.
One of my favorite tracks, Change's last, is called "Ellen & Ben." It's a funny little anecdote, but no lyrics are provided in the liner notes. I'm pretty sure this shove in the right direction comes from the band it's an incentive to just sit down and listen to Change. Listen carefully to "Ellen & Ben" for the change of heart on the part of the narrator. Listening to Change, you're bound to fall in love with the Dismemberment Plan, if you haven't already.