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Album Review

It's one of the punchier titles around, and happily the Dismemberment Plan live up to it on their full debut album. Carrying over a new version of "Wouldn't You Like to Know" (a track from "Can We Be Mature?," their first single), the Plan — here with original drummer Steve Cummings — are a fairly thrash-crazed example of what the term "emo" used to mean. There aren't any apologetic weepouts, just calmer moments amidst pretty explosive performances. The group's debt to the Cure, whom they had covered on the Give Me the Cure benefit/tribute CD, actually surfaces in the more openly tuneful passages — it's more pop Cure than the angst-y version though, since the young band's own screaming frustration derives from other sources. There are hometown faves like the Rites of Spring, naturally, but one can also catch the intensity of Drive Like Jehu, if slightly smoothed out and made more accessible. Compared to the group's later, more open embrace of different rhythmic approaches and influences, here it's a touch more straightforward — Cummings by now means a bad drummer, just not as totally impressive and fluid as Joe Easley. Travis Morrison casts around for a variety of vocal guises rather than settling on one, sometimes chatty and relaxed, other times amping up the screams, and at still other times trying for a bit of soul/lounge shtick. It's an odd combination, but still has a certain something, while the overall combination on such winners as "OK Jokes Over," an analysis of a shredded relationship with a great high-speed rush in the music, is pure delight. For all that the quartet is still a straight-up rock band, there's plenty of hints of their future subtlety and sonic joy — the chimes and handclaps in "Soon to Be Ex Quaker," the stuttering stop-start rumble of "13th and Euclid."

Customer Reviews

One of the best post-punk debuts ever (with emphases on the punk part)

Every one knows the dismemberment plan by their undeniably great Emergency & I, and later the incredible Change. But for fans of the band who loved everything about them, this album was an absolutely essential part of their catalogue, and is immensely enjoyable to anyone who can appreciate the hardcore background these guys stemmed from. The perfect example is the opener Survey Says, which comes out of the gate with an insane guitar squeal and pure yelling, and then promptly goes into an intense riff that the whole band chugs along to. But right when you're confused whether this is even the same band, one of the Plan's best breaks come in as the guitars stop chugging and actually become beautiful ("When you know it's going to work it makes you, breaks you, all the same now"- so awsome). The whole album follows this template, and i would say it's one of the smartest combinations of both punk enthusiasm and pop sensibility ever because of how good the band could pull off both. A truly great album.

Do not make this your first The Dismemberment Plan record

Ok, so don't be afraid of The Dismemberment Plan because of this. It's messy and ugly and undisciplined. There is a small semblance of their pop seen on Emergency & I and Change, but overall the dissonance and deliberate inaccessability of ! is kind of a turnoff, not to mention the complete lack of variety (if you aren't listening hard, the first five tracks sound the same). There are still some gems, like the groovy "If I Don't Write" and "13th and Euclid" is a good indicator of how The Plan's 'pop' turns out on later records. "Rusty" is a nice song after the pounding your ears are going to get, but it's more of a relief than anything special. Get The Dismemberment Plan Is Terrified if you want a good dose of adrenaline that's also appealing to listen to. Get Emergency & I if you want the electronic experimental indie math rock that they became famous for. Only get ! if you're a completist or would like to appreciate how far The Plan has come by comparison.

Yay im the first to rate this album

this band is pretty cool. they are good, and good. yea.


Formed: January 1, 1993 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Washington, D.C.-based emo quartet the Dismemberment Plan -- frontman Travis Morrison, guitarist Jason Caddell, bassist Eric Axelson, and drummer Joe Easley -- debuted in 1994 with the single "Can We Be Mature?," signing to DeSoto to release the full-length ! in the fall of 1995. The Dismemberment Plan Is Terrified followed a year and a half later, and after releasing 1998's The Ice of Boston EP on major-label Interscope, the group returned to DeSoto for 1999's Emergency & I. In early 2001, the Dismemberment...
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