The early Dillinger Four EPs never stood out for me. I had no strong feelings about the band either way until I lived in shitty Madison, WI for three years from 1998-2001. I traveled a lot to Chicago and Milwaukee during my time in Madison for shows, but certain regional bands played Madison constantly, including Dillinger Four. The first time I saw them live was in 1998 and they blew me away. Their energy and stage presence was overwhelming. I literally ran out the next morning and picked up their debut full length, and was disappointed. It may seem like a classic album now, but Dillinger Four was so terrific live that the recorded versions of the songs paled in comparison. I recently saw D4 play some of these new Civil War songs on stage and I feel the same way now. What was awe-inspiring live isn’t nearly as incredible on the recording. The production is excellent, so I’m kind of flummoxed as to what I’m not crazy about. I’d go see D4 play a show tonight if I had the chance, but I won’t be listening to Civil War at home again any time soon. Fans of their other albums will likely love Civil War. For those that don’t “get” D4, go see them live. You’ll understand instantly why so many people are obsessed with them. They’re easily one of the best live bands on the planet.
–Art Ettinger (Fat)