DILLINGER FOUR: Civil War: CD

Living one state over from these guys, i can say that i’ve not only seen them a bunch of times, but our bands have played together a bunch of times, i’ve drank with them a bunch of times, partied with ‘em a bunch of times, lent gear to them a bunch of times, borrowed gear from them a bunch of times, spilled drinks on the gear i’ve borrowed from them a bunch of times and had drinks spilled on the gear i’ve lent to them a bunch of times. One could say that my exposure to D4 has been, shall we say, “reasonably ample.” Now, here’s the weird thing: If you pressed the cold steel muzzle of a fully loaded Walther PPK semiautomatic pistol against my temple and told me that the only way to save myself from perishing at your hand was to hum, sing, recite, quote, or otherwise convey a brief portion of the essence of a D4 song—any D4 song—then you, sir, would be mopping my brains up off the wall and buying lime for a hastily improvised grave, because, even after my self-reported “reasonably ample” exposure to D4, i could not hum, sing or otherwise croon five seconds of any of their songs. Don’t remember any of ‘em. Don’t remember a PART of any of ‘em. I’ve seen Dillinger 4 a SHIT ton of times, and i couldn’t tell you what one song of theirs sounds like ((i could, however, recite a few of their great song titles off the top of my head—“The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized” being a personal favorite)). Contrast this with Bill’s pre-D4 ((and i think even pre-Scooby Don’t)) Blatant Queers rip off band, the Krishnaz—whom i’d only seen once or twice, but can still sing the last line of that song about the girl who was no longer straight edge ((which is, for the record, “she’s lost her right to pledge the edge,” and no, i’m not making this up)) and maybe a few bars about the song about living in a SuperAmerica™ for good measure. I mean, i saw the Krishnaz once or maybe twice, and i can still remember a part of a song—i’ve seen D4 a good dozen times, and i can’t remember a god damn note they played. Now, that is not to say that the Krishnaz are/were a better band than D4, ‘cause they weren’t, but it’s just frickin’ WEIRD that i should be so reasonably well-acquainted with their music, yet still fail to remember a friggin’ second of it. When people ask me what D4 sound like, i usually just tell them “amnesia.” Maybe when Pat gets naked, my mind just deletes all related memories as some manner of preventative health measure, i dunno. In any event, “Summer in October” is a decent enough opening track; it sounds like top-tier Mutant Pop™ bands like the Connie Dungs for the first two minutes, then goes into kind of an extended, minute-plus breakdown, then comes out of the breakdown playing at half the speed, essentially ignoring the catchy ((dare i say “memorable?”)) chorus for the last three-sevenths of the song and sounding kinda like those “punk” bands one hears over the radio at Taco Bell™, minus the whole singing-thru-the-nose bit. The whole “completely switch up the song at the two minute mark” is the EXACT type of thing that would damage my ability to remember what the hell went on prior to that particular musical event; me, i would have instead opted to say “it seems like summer in October” about twenty or thirty more times, just to drive the point home that it, in fact, seems like summer in October. The second song sounds a bit like D4’s Twin Cities mod counterparts, The Strike, but i don’t have a track listing and i can’t tell what the song is called, so i’ll never remember it ((although it does have another one of those wacky breakdowns that i more or less flat-out hate)). I’ll call it the “break your fucking halo” song. The third song is apparently called something like “Dis-American Me,” and sounds sort of like Screeching Weasel with an old, drunken priest on lead vocals. I would kind of remember this song, except for the unfortunate scheduling event whereby it happens to be coming out right when we marginalized Yankee weirdos feel the least like being Dis-Americanized as we’ve felt in the last quarter-century or so. Song four is like a power ballad or something. The fifth song is about cannonballs, and the sixth song is fast. The seventh song sounds like the Riverdales with the same drunken priest on vocals. The eighth song is some sort of near-anthem, except i have no idea where or what the chorus is. “Paralyzed From the Neck Up” sounds like mall-punk’s un-evil twin, as does the tenth song, but that one’s about cigarettes or something. I have no idea what the eleventh song sounds like, but it has some weird breakdown where the chorus should be. The twelfth song sounds kinda like “The Noose Was Tight” by the Figgs, but not really. The guitar seems to be mocking me personally. Don’t think i’m not taking notes on this insubordination! “Pretty Little Casualties” is a rousing, album-closing, priest-led stomp, with another one of those stupid breakdowns gumming up the works, though said gumminess is mercifully brief. After deep, post-album introspection, i’ve come to the conclusion that the disconnect i feel with D4’s music stems from the fact that i generally can’t figure out what or where their choruses are, or if their songs even have choruses. Throw in a few breakdowns and tempo-switches and i’m completely lost, like i came in in the middle of a movie, sat through a bunch of acts, then left, and it was still the middle, although by and large i was enjoying the film. My suggestion is to eliminate the breakdowns, append “Yeah Yeah Yeah” or similar mnemonic device to the ends of all song titles, and insert choruses consisting of nothing but the song title repeated some power of two times, e.g., “Paralyzed From The Neck Up, Yeah Yeah Yeah! Paralyzed From The Neck Up, Yeah Yeah Yeah!” Ah, now THAT’S slick songwriting! BEST SONG: “Dis-American Me” BEST SONG TITLE: “Paralyzed From The Neck Up, Yeah Yeah Yeah” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Pat lived in nearby De Pere for one semester and attended St. Norbert’s College.

 –norb (Fat)