I promise that you have never heard anything like The Dismemberment Plan. I also promise that listening to their latest album “Change” will change the way you understand rock ‘n’ roll forever. Throw out all preconceptions regarding refrain, melody and genre because the only place you can fit The Plan is in your CD player. Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Travis Morrison has called it a “night album,” but you might want to think of it as the soundtrack to the kind of night that you wish would never end, one that is laced with possibilities and that takes you on a journey through the surreal.
The intricacy of sounds introduced by the first track, “Sentimental Man,” creates a sense of timelessness that is occasionally interrupted throughout the album by exploding high hats or emotion-laden vocals. Most of the 11 tracks however, hover within a meta-rock housing a primal need for expression within the tight constrictions of complicated and highly developed form. If you have ever felt as if your skin was too tight on your body or blindly stumbled through finding the right words then you have felt what The Dismemberment Plan are playing.
And then there are the lyrics that could stand on their own as gorgeous testaments to the cultivation of raw feeling. “Superpowers,” the third track on “Change,” is just one example of this lyrical artistry. “I’ve been lost in a cold white space as an arrogant dream storms in from another life / I have felt the snaps of lines that bind us all to this world / I have felt such unreal pain and not known what to do, it isn’t mine / I have stayed awake for weeks and slept for days…not one dream.”
“Change” ends on a funky note with the upbeat and fun “Ellen and Ben.” It’s also the clearest amalgamation of artists such as D’ Angelo, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Steely Dan and the Talking Heads – all cited as inspirations behind the album’s sound.
I also recommend checking out The Plan’s website online at www.dismembermentplan.com, which is constantly updated with daily musings and “The Ten Greatest Songs of All Time (Right Now).”
The Dismemberment Plan will be playing at the Theatre of the Living Arts Sept. 27, at 9 p.m. with John Vanderslice and Quruli opening. Ticket prices: $12 in advance and $14 day of show.