Uncanney Valley by The Dismemberment Plan
Some bands have unbelievably bad names and succeed in spite of them. Death Cab for Cutie is probably the best known example of this, but a similar story can be found in Washington D.C.’s The Dismemberment Plan, although with less universal success. You’ve probably not heard of The Dismemberment Plan. Their heyday was ten years ago, when they saw heavy rotation on KEXP and the like for songs from their fantastic albums Emergency & I and Change. The band broke up in 2003, and formally reunited in 2011. Uncanney Valley is the eventual result, after a couple years of touring, writing and recording.
Their sound is a mix of punk rock and white boy hip hop, and various points in between. Travis Morrison has the somewhat grating voice of your best friend from middle school’s older brother. The band mixes guitars, drums, bass, and fuzzy electronics to create a wall of sound that doesn’t really sound like anything you’ve heard before. While less so on this new album, Morrison and the band have always amazed me in their ability to have endearing, close-in stories to share while five minutes later screaming in your ear at the top of his lungs, barely listenable.
Uncanney Valley won’t ever be my favorite Dismemberment Plan album, but it does show the promise of longevity. I find new things I like about it in every listen, and I hope the band will continue to write and perform. Plus, look at that video above, for the best song on the album, “Waiting.” How can you not want to enjoy a band that has signers in the video, having fun with the band?
I picked The Dismemberment Plan for #24 because I think there are 23 albums better than this one this year. Strangely, the day this post goes live — Sunday, Dec. 8 — I’ll have just seen the band live the night before. (And this isn’t the first time this has happened this year — I saw Lorde the night before I reviewed her album at #28 on Dec. 4.) I hope these new songs held up well in the live environment, and that it was a good show. Look for my review of the show to come tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 9.
25. Event II by Deltron 3030
26. Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots
27. Us Alone by Hayden
28. Pure Heroine by Lorde
29. Shaking the Habitual by The Knife
30. False Idols by Tricky
31. Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart