Review : Civil War - Dillinger Four
AllmusicAfter a six year wait, Dillinger Four returned with their second album for Fat Wreck Chords. Initial plans were to release a record in October of 2006, but after several delays (most of which were attributed to the members being in their mid-thirties with full-time jobs) an official deadline was finally imposed when NOFX invited Billy and the boys to support them on a future tour, provided that Civil War was finished and ready to promote. Once an end-date was strictly enforced, the ball started rolling quickly. Recorded at the Terrarium with producer Dave Gardener between July and October of 2008, the group re-emerged with a record that held strong to their melodic punk roots, but showed a new, more mature side of the band. The fiery pep is still intact here, but the carefree days of "He's a Shithead (Yeah, Yeah)" have been replaced with thoughtful lyrics dealing with social injustices. It's vintage punk in that sense, and that's a good thing. They stand out as a band with significance in a punk pool becoming more diluted with fashion-focused emo-poppers singing about teen angst. As a group coming to terms with the knowledge that they're the old-timers in a modern-day punk scene, their maturity suits them well (their press packet plays up this trait, ranking them as a band as important to the '90s and '00s as Black Flag was to the '80s). With themes that focus on governmental deception and materialism ("A Jingle for the Product"), lousy economical state of being ("Minimum Wage Is a Gateway Drug"), and media propaganda ("Parishiltonisametaphor"), it's their most glossy, most consistent, most calm, and surprisingly, their most socially relevant album, despite their approach toward middle age on a teen-oriented punk playground....full text
SputnikmusicI think I was in Grade 10 or 11 when Dillinger Four was supposed to have a new album out. There'd been some controversy about a recently released D4 live album that was allegedly unofficial, but I didn't really care either way---I wanted new material. Well I'm not in high school anymore. I'm in my second year of University, in fact, and it's worth noting I took an extra year in high school. So basically it's been a few years---about five or six I'd say. That's a long, long time for any album to take to get finished. But a punk album? It's practically an eternity. But to my relief and assuredly to the relief of the people at Fat Wreck, C I V I L W A R is finally here. I could ask why it took so long. Was it a matter of laziness? No. Is the album overly ambitious? Er...not at all. No, chances are it took a long time because it took a long time. Dillinger Four has always been a band that prides themselves on the fact that they're regular dudes first and a band second. It's not that they don't care, it's that they don't care. So yes, it's finally here. And yes, it took ***ing forever. Guess we'll all have to get over it.
Getting over it is easy once you press play. C I V I L W A R is a familiar album, even if you've never heard it. Like all Dillinger Four albums, it dares to be called pop-punk. It's impossible (and ignorant) to deny its catchiness. Oftentimes channelling Holy Bible-era Manic Street Preachers, Dillinger Four is a gifted melodic outfit. But like the Manics, they employ melody and hooks with a sense of sardonic-taunting. The guitars are loud, the bass is almost louder. D4 vocalist/guitarist Erik Funk is probably what James Dean Bradfield would sound like if he had a cold and a dangerous smoking habit. I mean that in the nicest possible way. Funk's vocals are borderline wheezy, he tends to sing through his nose and he has a tendency to trail off. This, of course, rules. Then there's Paddy. Paddy is kind of Erik's antithesis. Instead of his voice being high, somewhat air-struck and from the nose, Paddy sounds like he's singing with rocks in his throat. It's like he's spent the last few years gargling whisky and drinking motor oil. Once again, this rules. Of course the band isn't exclusively comparable to the Manic Street Preachers, but their use of distortion, hooks, mushed spaceless song-titles (Americaspremierfaithbasedinitiative/Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldf allapart) and goofy sound-clips make it a convenient launching point. There's also certain bouncy-energy to their sound, something in line with the Stiff Little Fingers. There's attitude, sarcasm and a certain punk vigour about their music but the way they blend it with an almost raucous sense of melody that makes for a truly original sound, one that's been conveniently left untouched between albums....full text
AvclubFollowing the release of 2000's fantastic Versus God, Dillinger Four took its place as one of the most exciting bands in punk. Underneath the balls-out rock, blistering tempos, and smart-alecky lyrics lurked a surprisingly strong pop acumen, creating an engrossing mix of power and melody. 2002's Situationist Comedy repeated the format, albeit less effectively, and following its touring cycle, D4 quietly disappeared. Performances became sporadic, and the buzz died down as vague promises of a new album failed to deliver....full text
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