I hate fan videos. They're shaky, sound bad, and really you should've just been there in the first place. People who take fan videos are like those people who walk around art museums taking photos of the paintings.
But, the Dismemberment Plan? I'll watch any fan video of that anytime. Having caught the reunion show in NYC two Januarys ago, I thought: "That's it. It's over." There was this sense of the show, helped by the fact that all of us in line were already in our 30s and had been waiting for this, of complete comfort. It felt like a warm hug goodbye. And by golly did we send them out.
Flash forward to now. Our good friends at Consequence of Sound have some incredible fan vids of the D-Plan's newest songs. If they bumped up Christmas to tomorrow, I couldn't be more excited. So, here are the vids and my quick takes. And just so you know, I could've been at this Baltimore show, but I wasn't. And I am kicking myself.
Sounding like it came right out of the Change sessions, Morrison's intones of the chorus "Daddy was a real good dancer" from behind the keyboard as a riff which feels like the sequel to "Ellen and Ben" bends its way through the track. It's playful and catchy and dancey. One of the reasons you listen to the Plan.
With an opening reminiscent of the keyboard kick sublime ender to 1999's Emergency & I, "Back and Forth," this tune is a raucous melange of energy. I defy anyone to find a better rhythm section working right now. Wait for the song to bump and go crazy around the 1:50 mark. And old Plan fans, yes, the samples are still there.
The Plan always saw themselves as this sort of still point in the moving world. Danceable Radiohead, self-conscious punky R&B, however you wanted to define it they were pulling things together in ways that other bands were hinting at in the 90s and early 00s. In their vein of seeming ballads, this track finds itself a slick grove and Morrison hits all the high points while the keyboards do their dirty work.
Sample machine go! For the first time in this video set, Morrison picks up the guitar as goofy video sounds punctuate his predilection for rap-inspired vocal delivery. Then the epic breakdown rips into a calypso sounding solo. Positivism, folks, it's been missing for too long.
The Plan's secret weapon has always been the distribution of melody. Tracks like "I Love a Magician" held it out to the end. Later, as the band seemed more into the shimmer, the melody met the harmony as a deepening of nostalgia and self-assurance seemed to take over. That imprint is all over this song, the gentle opening fits in sync with Morrison's lyrical wit: "Once he wanted to paint her naked / Now he just wants to paint her." It turns to noise, but the melody is still there.
Was the problem with Travis Morrison's solo career that he got in the way? That there was too much Travis and not enough others? By the time that the tune hits here, you may be on the verge of writing this one out, but then it becomes one of the most D-plan sounding of the songs. The exuberant chorus floats to the rafters. If there's one thing to be sure, the Plan's not only back, they're still doing what they do. Keeping their eye on the prize, in Plan parlance.