I always feel like I'm sitting at the bar of some small club sipping a whiskey when I listen to Dillinger Four. Albeit you could draw that conclusion directly from each album's production quality -- but I really meant how the music makes me feel. It's like the band has something wiser behind it than the pop-punk powerhouses spewing out the same catchy chord progressions and hooks, yet something more playful than a lot of today's political punkers. The band succeeds in blending the raw with the - for lack of a better term - marketable.
I've been a huge Dillinger Four fan since the first time I listened to them -- back when they were the centerpiece for Hopeless Records' Hopelessly Devoted to You compilation series. Those comps were truly historical collections for 90s punk, showcasing respected now-veteran scenesters like Mustard Plug, Against All Authority, Guttermouth, the Queers, Funeral Oration, the Weakerthans and Samiam; defunct or still unknown but truly spectacular bands like 88 Fingers Louie, Digger, Fifteen, and Scared of Chaka; even Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold, Break the Silence and Atom and His Package on more recent compilations. Ever since I first heard those comps, Dillinger Four became a band whose track record I've followed religiously for several years.
Dillinger Four hasn't shown a significant musical progression over the years, but the quality of their tunes hasn't diminished either, which is something only the finest punk bands can demonstrate. Let's be honest; punk rock isn't really about complicated riffs and musical progression anyway.
The band's newest recording, C I V I L W A R, stays true to Dillinger Four's hook-laden chord progressions, formulaic but catchy. You can feel a slightly different quality to the music; in an interview posted on AP.net, Erik Funk summed it up nicely:
"Now that it's done, I think it's more heavy on the pop side than our other records."
Which isn't to say that D4's signature rawness is gone -- it's just a little more subtle. After all, Fat Wreck Chords wouldn't promote a band that had gone soft, would they?
There's not much else to say about this recording. I love it. You either love 'em or hate 'em. D4 is straight-up, in-your-face pop-punk. They've got nothing to hide. So if you dig D4's other recordings, you're sure to like this one. If you don't like the old stuff, then stop reading this damn post.
Oops, too late. It's already over.
"I am not unforgiving / but I won't take the fall / Let the ashes surround us / I am not gonna crawl through / broken glass and razor wire."
- Dillinger Four, "Noble Stabbings!!"