The revered indie veterans of Dismemberment Plan return with a new album and a more mature sound
For all of its shimmery pop leanings and at times perhaps overly-comfortable grooves, Uncanney Valley isn't without many of the strengths and idiosyncrasies that make the Dismemberment Plan the Dismemberment Plan. Synths are expertly layered throughout, Easley's drumming and Eric Axelson's bass playing are as locked in as ever, and Morrison can still surprise you with odd little one-liners that wind up rattling around in your head for days. Lyrically, the album is all over the map and ventures into a lot of uncharted territory for the band: the sacrifices of fatherhood ("Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer"); the comfort found in long-term, post-infatuation relationships ("Lookin'"); the anxiety and loneliness of moving to a new city ("Invisible"). This is grown-up shit, being explored admirably. Still, you have to wonder how this will juxtapose in a live setting with all the older material, which feels like a lifetime away from where the band is now. Morrison for one, isn't worried.
"There aren't too many of our older songs that are solely based on adolescence or adolescent issues," he said. "There are very few songs where we accused someone of not understanding us, which is a very young thing to do. I think there's a lot of philosophical distance or perspective, where when I sing those songs now, I think, 'Wow, we must have been little old men when we were like 23.' The fact that there aren't many accusatory songs makes it easier to convey the older stuff now at 40 years old."
Whether Uncanney Valley represents an official final chapter in the Dismemberment Plan's career or the first in a series of new band happenings remains to be seen. The group is taking it all one day at a time, and Morrison certainly wouldn't want it any other way.
"Someone told me once that Bill Murray tells everyone that he's retired, but then just comes out of retirement whenever there's something exciting or interesting to do and I really like that attitude," he said. "So whatever Bill Murray does, I do." *
Tue/10, 8pm, $28
1805 Geary, SF
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