To call The Dillinger Escape Plan's latest album Ire Works perplexing is a great understatement. I've been aware that the album has been streaming online from their official MySpace site for some time, but I've opted not to listen to it until today (since my fucking pre-order should’ve been at my doorstep a week ago).
I checked out a few of the already published album reviews and I can safely every single one of them is full of shit – but hey, what else is new? A few dwelled on the fact that 'us hardcore (read: Calculating Infinity) fans' turned 'deserters' are going to hate this album. Others were busy masturbating to the very poppy couple of tracks on Ire Works as if they were awe-inspiring-ly groundbreaking and are going to change the world through pop a la The Beatles. There are more than two songs on the fucking disc people. Get a grip.
Anyway here is my no bullshit little critique of a real grind fan, of someone who fucking loves Calculating Infinity, Under the Running Board and Irony is a Dead Scene – but doesn’t unabatedly hate Miss Machine.
First up – anyone who thought that The Dillinger Escape Plan were going to spin around and return to the glory days of Calculating Infinity is retarded. Secondly - to those of you who thought we were going to cop an even further watered down Miss Machine – I'm glad to say you're wrong too.
This album is essentially another step in musical evolution for DEP. They have taken what they've did in Miss Machine and further progressed it. The better songs have chaotic blast beats and more complicated polyrhythms and syncopations than were found on Miss Machine. Overall most songs are structured a little better, and while we still have some of those catchy choruses they're much better thought out.
Some songs thrash around in mathcore/grind complexity until finally settling into a huge breakdown crescendo. The syncopation of When Acting As a Wave is just fucking stupid. It hurts my head its so messed up. 82588 has some crazy, fucked up, off-tap tech wankery that will make you instantly think of the Calculating Infinity days.
However, in addition to 5-6 songs in this vein, DEP have also decided to opt for a greater experimental flair. A couple of songs dabble further in electronics, ambiance and even Fantomas-esque moments. Sick on Sunday whacks out from drum and bass to electronic, circus moments, insane Genghis Tron guitar runs and ambiance as it builds into an outro that could’ve easily been written by Dog Fashion Disco.
Further, we've got some Sunshine The Werewolf / Unretrofied mainstream appeal songs – a few of which literally seem to be directly aimed at cashing into the pop emocore kiddies. Black Bubblegum sounds like it was written by Fallout Boy with a whacked out syncopation and an anthemic pop chorus (not particularly a good thing). Milk Lizard is a straight rockin' track, and I'll admit it – it’s catchy. Its rocky-ness however progresses into another power-poppy crescendo which seems a bit forced.
To sum up the album: the mainstream moments are more unashamedly mainstream. The experimental electro stuff more whacked out. The harder songs are more complex and heavier than most of Miss Machine. Considering the line up changes and what could’ve been, I’m impressed. I've only given it a few listens, but it certainly sounds promising.
Ire Works seems to be a very multi-faceted album that has succeeded in avoiding sterility or staleness in the writing process, and somehow managed to categorically avoid all preconceptions of how the album was going to sound.
Touché Dillinger. Touché.