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November 24, 2007

{     Dillinger Escape Plan "Ire Works"     }    


The last time I saw Dillinger I bore witness to the inconceivable. It happened in the pit. While the band split atoms on stage, the kids were clearing the floor with that stupid, kung-fu imitation bullshit that passes for pit activity these days. One kid grabbed another by the arms. Hand in hand they started swirling around and around until the one who was larger and stronger became the revolving base for the other to gain enough momentum to get his legs in flight like a giant burlap sack of cutlery.

That would have been enough for most of us trooly grim geezers in the back to crack a grin but another kid not content to have his deafening dojo interrupted stepped up and started jumping over the swinging one like he was a jump rope. This went on for a few more revolutions before the one doing the swinging got tired. All who saw cheered and laughed. The whole thing came completely out of nowhere.

That little incident is exactly what encapsulates Dillinger Escape Plan for me. Everything they do starts out musically as something so obnoxiously trendy that I'm almost ashamed to be drawn in. But while they're sonically kicking and punching in the air they grab one another's arms and start swirling. While my lament evolves into interest they start jumping rope with one another and the interest turns to marvel.

Enter Ire Works: An album not as completely radical a shift from it's predecessor as Miss Machine was from Calculating Infinity but enough of an evolution to let us know that Dillinger aren't done pushing the envelope yet. Tracks like "Black Bubblegum" and "Milk Lizard" piss into the mainstream with clean, catchy hooks that would make Avril Lavigne's song writing team jealous. And cuts like "When Acting as a Particle" and "When Acting as a Wave" ape John Cage and Calculating Infinity era DEP. Both re:upped with decaying digitized breakdowns of their signature metallic physics. The rest of the tracks play to various shades in between. Tickling ivory, blaring horns, cooing falsettos and chiming triangles add contrast to the blast beats and steroid screams.

I thought Ire Works might not be enough of a departure to be a step into that "teenager jumping rope with another teenager" place the first few times I listened to it but it goes there after repeated passes. Give it the same chance and you'll marvel too, especially if you've come to DEP via the Mike Patton/Ipecac Records multiverse. And if they're coming to your area do yourself a big favor and drag your butt out to see them. They will probably be the tightest band you've ever heard live, pit antics or not.

     » Dillinger Escape Plan on Myspace
     » Buy Ire Works from Relapse
     » Buy Ire Works from SmartPunk

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