Dillinger Four


Written by: PP on 13/12/2008 15:12:01

Boy has this year been good for punk rock. Not only did a bunch of old bands come out with amazing comeback albums (NUFAN, No Fun At All), but household names like Pennywise, Lagwagon and Rise Against also delivered the goods, and now Dillinger Four ups the ante with "CIVIL WAR", their first new album in six years. Let me just pause here and tell you something about the importance of Dillinger Four though. Ever read interviews by any melodic punk/hardcore band? Go on, google a few where the interviewer asks the cliché "so who are your influences" question. What you'll notice is that more or less every punk band from the states will name Dillinger Four (and Lifetime) as a major influence at some point in their career, and that's because albums like "'Situationist Comedy'", "Versus God" and "Midwestern Songs Of The Americas" are absolute masterpieces in the genre. Did I arouse your interest yet? "Civil War" is at least as good as those records, if not better.

So why does Dillinger Four have such a status? What makes them so special? Well, to start out with, their vocal duties are split in half between two guys, sort of like in Alkaline Trio. On one hand, you've got Costello's high-pitched clean screech (as odd as that might sound on paper), and on the other hand you've got Erik Funk's rough, drunken-like vocals quite a bit lower in the spectrum, and both voices are some of the most unique and instantly-recognizable ones in the music industry as a whole. Secondly, their songs are infectious, full of melodic hooks and interesting guitar lines. The rumbling bass and fantastic riff of opener "A Jingle For The Product" should convince any reader straight away, as it demonstrates how Dillinger Four songs need not to contain ridiculous technical prowess, their simple chords are just arranged so originally that there's no need or demand for anything else, a classic case of "don't fix it if it isn't broken" kind of thing. It's the feeling of Midwestern suburbia described through the means of melodic riffs and hooks, simple as that.

Thirdly, the band is amazing lyrically. Straight after the opening riffs, Costello croons "There were times when we raised our fists to the world..." in a great metaphoric expression of frustration with one's life, and this is just the first line of the song. The lyrics are generally socially and politically conscious, but never directly so. The band takes heavy use of metaphors and other linguistic devices to create a lyrical universe well worthwhile diving head first into. Here's an example from "The Classical Arrangement":

"i'm glad you found your answers / in your parents' fairy tales / still we'll give focus / with no wind to push the sails / mythology and magic / religion's all the same / the world turns to a desert / while you pray for rain [...] we're all looking for our own truth / and we are only tiny droplets in the ocean / drops in the ocean"

But Dillinger Four lyrics don't always need to be drowned with metaphors to be great, sometimes the pure honesty and wisdom can be strikingly simple, yet so great, such as in my favorite line on the record: "Lets live it like we FUCKING MEAN IT!" from "Gainesville". And there's so many more such one-liners you'll find yourself singing along to throughout the course of your day.

Finally, their songs are just amazing, there's no way around it. "Minimum Wage Is A Gateway Drug", "The Art Of Whore", "Fruity Pebbles", "Parishiltonisametaphor" and "Ode To The North American Snake Oil Distributor" are all songs that I know I'll be carrying with me for as long as I can possibly fathom. It's songs like these that give Dillinger Four the status of being the most original punk rock bands of the 21st century, which I'm sure you'll agree with after hearing "Civil War" in its entirety.


Download: Minimum Wage Is A Gateway Drug, The Art Of Whore, Fruity Pebbles
For the fans of: Latterman, The Lawrence Arms, Lifetime, Alkaline Trio
Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.10.2008
Fat Wreck Chords

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