The Dismemberment Plan
A People's History of the Dismemberment Plan


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mort. USER (56 Reviews)
November 16th, 2015 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A people's history of The Dismemberment Plan

The Dismemberment Plan’s Emergency and I can be summarized as the expression of feeling alienated and anxious in an often cold and disorientating modern world, as experienced through the eyes of a few disgruntled 20 somethings. Loved ones had left, the city was wide open and full of possibilities yet also so empty, leaving our boys absurdly aimless. Tales were told through a disjointed series of snapshots (“Plastic cube filled with pus that sits atop my supervisor’s desk / the feeling of ice on the inside of a wrist /always tired, need a nap / I have to make myself brush my teeth”) that painted an unsettling and disappointing picture of adult life. Change was the band moving on, more comfortable with their situation but still not content as others’ lives progressed faster than theirs to their dismay.

A People’s History of the Dismemberment Plan is what happens when the aforementioned LPs are cut up and remixed, collaged to almost unrecognizable ends by fans and friends of the band. On some tracks an entirely new direction is taken, with the best aspects of the band's rhythmic sensibilities adapted into catchy techno beats that retain a lot of the bands core sound (working off of their “dance punk” influence). But, for the most part the end result is that the disquieting and gloomy feel of their work is accentuated. Paranoid, skittering beats flit about in tandem with Travis Morrison’s lonely statements, while the often melancholic and buzzing keyboards provide a disarming backdrop to his existential crisis. For example, “The City” has been re-imagined as a frantic neo-noir piece that evokes a similar but markedly different city to the one illustrated on Emergency And I (Washington D.C). Instead of the “streetlights hum” or “iridescent grid” that gave a feeling of a city abandoned by life, this city is bustling with neurotic uncertainty and suspicion. The once warm, comforting keyboards have been stripped down to flat piano notes while the orignal synth melody has been replaced with saxophone, adding a perverse, unhinged feel to the track.

Similarly, “The Jitters”, an ode to apathy and the disconnection between individual and modern life is now all jittered up and Travis Morrison’s dreary vocals are reduced to an eerie echo. It’s testament to how remixes can achieve more than the original in tone and scope, as the most alien and empty sounding track on Emergency and I has now been stripped of its little remaining humanity into a cold and hollow murmur, skittering impersonal percussion and robotic atmosphere.

True, there is some joy left as standout track “Life of Possibilities“ retains the chill atmosphere of the original, morphed into a dreamy, meandering track that bubbles along continually at one pace. Even though the lyrics attached to it are of alienation, (“growing sense of despair / you don’t know anyone” and “if they do care/ oh they’re not letting it show”) It’s warm and comforting tone prevails with the synth melody from “The City” pleasantly familiar in the chorus.

But, like so many compilations and remix albums the lack of a consistent theme can be irritating, as songs tend to just cut into each other with often jarring transitions. While both Emergency and I and Change arguably had consistent themes, when their tracks are mixed up and altered to this extent the result is a just a pile of remixes that feature a hint of connection but no flow. For example, the remix of “The Automatic” is ironically the least automatic song here, a droning snooze fest with little to no variation and a style that seems forced in comparison to the original. Wedged in between two of the most driving and lively songs its only accomplishment is killing all momentum. But what do you expect when a band's work is adapted in this way? These are the same songs, the same stories just told through the minds of individuals who've put their own spin on it, keeping the original message but adding bits on or cutting parts out. It’s similar to how myths are created and change over the years, surviving through word of mouth but losing and changing parts of their essence each time. Sometimes the original idea is lost and the song comes off worse for it (“The Automatic”) but for the most part this compilation is an excellent testament to its own title, every song uniquely familiar and yet something strangely new. Truly a people’s history of The Dismemberment Plan.



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user ratings (6)
2.6
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mort.
November 16th 2015


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what a load of bullshit

Mort.
November 16th 2015


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAYldCX27G0 - the city remix



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6scXN6klI6k - life of possibilities remix



Mort.
November 16th 2015


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shit and i probably could of name dropped some of the remixers but i dont recognize any of their names and have no idea if any of them are well known/worth mentioning

Pheromone
November 16th 2015


8759 Comments


great review mate, you got me into this band a while back and now e&i is one of my favourites.

Digging: Lagwagon - Let's Talk About Feelings

Mort.
November 16th 2015


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheeers man



defo check the songs i linked

PappyMason
November 16th 2015


5702 Comments


Nah, great review man.

Never heard this one, it'll be interesting to hear how some of the songs have changed. Quick catch: their 4th album is just called Change.

PappyMason
November 16th 2015


5702 Comments


I have to make myself brush my teeth

I never caught how brilliant that line was.

Mort.
November 16th 2015


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah cheers pappy, i always get that album title wrong



Yeah all the songs off this are on emergency and I or change, except for academy award which is from their 2nd lp i think





MyNameIsPencil
November 20th 2015


5520 Comments


Shit I was finally able to read this.

great review, pos'd

Digging: Dalek - From Filthy Tongue Of Gods And Griots

Mort.
November 20th 2015


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers bro

Mort.
April 16th 2016


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why this has such a low average i will never understand



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