The Dismemberment Plan came along at a time when it wasn’t cool for indie rock kids to be jocking hip-hop and R&B. These four guys were shaking their butts to Mary J. Blige and the Time as much as they were tearing it up to Jawbox and Circus Lupus. With a career that has just come to a close (maybe?), and a fan base that likes to get shake it as much they talk about their feelings, it’s only natural that the D-Plan drops a remix album on us. Or is it?
A People’s History of the Dismemberment Plan contains 12 nuggets from the band’s past that were remixed and just generally fucked up by fans and peers alike, resulting in both some pure strokes of genius and some tracks that would be better left on their creator’s hard drive.
The album starts off with a horrid remix of “The Face of the Earth,” before the release hits sunnier climes. Cex’s reworking of “Academy Award” essentially one-ups the original version, pulling to the surface previously muted and ignored elements, while totally mangling Travis Morrisson’s voice as he repeats “We always knew you could do it.”
“The Jitters” moves from a dark, moving piece of internal desperation to a wicked jam with some nice moves and a backbeat. On Emergency and I it’s the song I skip; on this album, it’s one of the song’s I quietly anticipate.
Other highlights include the beautifully fucked-up version of “The Other Side,” which seems as though it’s going to sail off into oblivion before it jumps back, grabs you and throws your ass onto the dance floor. “Time Bomb” and “The City” are remixed in similar fashion and come out on top with cutthroat dynamics.
The sounds on this album not only represent the Lazy Susan-like list of influences that made up the Dismemberment Plan, but it also represents their populist approach to making and performing music. The way they look at it, they wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the fans, so why not give the fans a hand in making the music they pay to listen to? While this great idea didn’t come out all stars, its bright points will be able to shine next to the rest of the band’s catalog for years to come.