Published Feb 01, 2000Whether front-man Travis Morrison means it or not, he and his band-mates in the Dismemberment Plan have taken quite a load on by simply naming their newest album Change. This new offering from the Washington, DC band, set for release this month on Desoto Records, follows up 1999's Emergency & I, a critically heralded record now recognised as their breakthrough effort. Praise rang in heavy doses from the likes of the Village Voice and NME for the disc: with such praise the band's profile rose enough that they were asked to open a stadium tour for Pearl Jam in Europe. Yet despite all of that, Morrison sees the new title's relevance as nothing more than coincidental.
"Well, it is not irrelevant by any means," agrees Morrison somewhat unconvincingly. "The reason we used it was, it follows a picture we decided to use for the cover that had that word in it. Our album titles have been pretty clever in the past, but I wanted to have one of those one word titles. They make a statement. The best example is Rumors, the Fleetwood Mac album. That was a ballsy idea to use that name to title what it was they were doing musically."
Mixing the DC-style post punk/hardcore influence of their youth with influences as varied as Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell and Talking Heads, Change is an album that initially appears bulky and dense, but on subsequent listens bleeds out into one of this year's most enjoyable and unique experiences. The album builds upon what Emergency & I did for the band and sees them create songwriting cycles that share vision instead of being just a collection of thrown-together sounds.
"The new record is more psychedelic," admits Morrison. "It is where we were at. In the last little while we have been listening to records like D'Angelo's Voodoo, Remain In Light by Talking Heads, Kid A by Radiohead all those albums are more total listening experiences than just songs thrown together as a collection. There are a lot of levels to sink into when you listen to them. We wanted to try to pull some of that same sort of idea. We wanted this to be like our Remain in Light."
While Change's lasting cultural impact remains to be seen, it's already had an impact on the band themselves, taking their career to a new level. "We weren't as focused as a band before as now; the attention has been really good. When we did those shows with Pearl Jam, people were looking at us. There were elements about doing that tour that were surprising, and there was no negative impact from doing so. It can be an interesting challenge to do new things."