D-Plan has heard it all - emo, punk, funk, pop and good ol’ barroom rock and roll. Just about every descriptor you could put before four guys on stage with guitars, bass, drums and an old synthesizer.
Perhaps because they hail from the Washington, DC area, there are clumsy comparisons to Fugazi. Though the band’s rhythm section is pretty Dischordant, the Plan harkens back to two earlier bands - Talking Heads and the Clash - who fused the above influences around them into something slightly different, something undeniably bouncing and rocking, and - as those who’ve attended their sweaty shows, the ones with the high schoolers dressed like robots charging the stage, threatening bodily harm to the band even as the rock continues - something for the children.
Playwright Edward Albee once lampooned the need to categorize by referring to a fictional work of art's "quietly noisy relaxed intensity." So too Plan fans will heap on the labels to assure that the band fits into whatever scene the sycophants need to be part of. My attitude: just enjoy it.
Fans of earlier albums will not be disappointed, nor will they find something that sounds entirely similar to what came before. "Change" is not a radical departure; still present is the wailing organ, the tight bass lines, tighter drumming and vocal storytellings of lead singer Travis Morrison.
Morrison also retains his uncanny ability to capture - poetically, I’d venture - moments, like little personal essays, of life in these days, these ages, these cities.
"As kisses go, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary," begins "Face of the Earth." Morrison then tells us, in reverse, looking back from that first kiss, a relationship exploded and ended. On "Ellen and Ben," he returns to the ramblings that made "You are Invited," from the band’s previous full length, "Emergency and I," so enjoyable.
Some of the band’s melodic choices may come to longtime listeners as a dissonant shock. You realize in listening, however, that the band has made a conscious choice: evolve, experiment and don’t choose the obvious melodic paths. The progressions make sense.
Rating: A- (If nothing else, Jessica Hopper does the band's PR)Reviewed by Crispin Havernill