The Dismemberment Plan

Picture of The Dismemberment Plan

Emergency & I

The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I ©1999 DeSoto Records
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. 8 Minutes
12. Back and Forth

For the most part, I've developed an aversion to many of the alternative/post-rock bands that were part of the 90s explosion. Independent music may have dominated the scene, but like any explosion, so much of the shrapnel is nothing more than overwrought refuse. However, amongst all the rubble exists the occasional bright shiny object and The Dismemberment Plan happens to one of them. This band was formed in Washington DC, but fortunately escaped the hubris that went along with many of the participants in that scene. In fact, The Dismemberment Plan could simply be described as a band that slipped through the genre cracks, yet still found a decent sized audience based on the success of this particular record.

Featuring a vocalist who sounds like a mild mannered IT guy matched with a band consisting of record store geeks, The Dismemberment Plan hints at an extremely wide variety of influences, although the end result is guitar driven, pop-tinged college rock. Travis Morrison, the singer in question, has a distinguishable, slightly high pitched voice that should sound like a wimpy emo kid, but somehow delivers convincing melodies. He's also responsible for the electronic parts that lurk throughout this album. However, the band's secret weapon is their highly capable rhythm section. Bassist Eric Axelson seemingly has taken cues from Joe Lally with his noodling approach. At times, The Dismemberment Plan comes across as Fugazi, assuming the iconic DC band was relaxing in hammocks with breezy drinks in hand. However, the comparison is made mostly because The Dismemberment Plan has no qualms about jagged, angular guitar rhythms and aforementioned bass playing style. No one is going to hear a song from Emergency & I and think the band was ripping off Fugazi.

While I personally feel this very good record falls just a tad short of being absolutely great, Emergency & I is certainly a highlight of 1999 and the band deserved all the attention they got after its release. There's more than a few excellent songs on the album that deserve your ears.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2009

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