Dillinger Four – Situationist Comedy

Dillinger Four
Situationist Comedy

This new CD by Dillinger Four created a whole lot of dilemmas for me. Staying objective and unbiased is difficult when one of your favorite bands has just moved to one of your favorite record labels and is releasing a much-hyped album. One of two reactions will occur in this circumstance. Either you will hate it or you will love it, rarely anything in-between. It will be condemned as not as good as (insert previous masterpiece here) or it’s without a shadow of a doubt their best work to date. I’m glad to say I’ll shatter that theory with Dillinger Four’s third full-length, Situationist Comedy. While not quite on par with their previous work from 2000’s Versus God, this newest offering is a notch above 1998’s Midwestern Songs…; but then again, this IS Dillinger Four we’re talking about here. On their worst day they are still an undeniably great punk band. Just as apt to start a rebellion as they are to stick a catchy hook in your ear for days, Minneapolis’ D4 are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
You can note one distinguishable aspect of D4 before ever pressing play; the band always has some of the funniest song titles anywhere. Titles like “A Floater Left With Pleasure in the Executive Washroom,” “Labour Issues in the Toy Department,” and “File Under ‘Adult Contemporary,'” all lend to the conception of D4 as a joke-punk band, but there won’t be any dropping trow or singing about midgets here. The fun song names lure you in then make way for D4’s genuinely powerful political message. Music that is both fun and offers political commentary goes hand-in-hand about as often as a socialist and a libertarian. Only NOFX is as capable of delivering meaningful political statements coupled with such an infectious sound.
Just as the song titles seem harmless but are actually a bear-trap, the sugarcoated sound of Dillinger Four’s music is capable of making 30-somethings tap their toes to the catchy hooks then take their ties off, wrap them around their heads, and go give their bosses a big “fuck off.” Erik’s raspy-yet-inherently-poppy vocals sound like they should be singing about girls and skateboarding, yet D4’s lyrics outline the struggles of those who are oppressed by any institution. “All Rise for the Rational Anthem” details the problem of having unpopular opinions in our society. On “D4=Putting the ‘F’ Back in Art,” Billy issues a loaded apology to a close-minded punk scene, “I don’t remember asking your permission / To have my own goddamned opinion / And if this is how it goes / At all of your shows / Please point me to the exit.”
Despite D4’s revolutionary message, Situationist Comedy goes down easy like a smooth import instead of some choppy domestic because of the band’s penchant for intelligent pop hooks, sweeping sing-alongs, and indescribable energy. Having two distinct vocalists also doesn’t hurt the band’s ability to keep things fresh. The aforementioned raspy, snot-nosed pop sounds of Erik Funk along with the Lemmy-esque, super-spirited vocals of Billy Morrisette are like a WWF tag team of doom as they trade singing duties throughout the album.
Even though Situationist Comedy isn’t quite as good as Versus God (but what is?), this album is a 34-minute hooky, energetic romp with a message that will no doubt get you up out of your chair waiving your fists in the air and swearing “not to take that shit anymore.” Also being on Fat Wreck provides D4 with access to better distribution and a larger fan base than they enjoyed on Hopeless. Here’s hoping that more people get in on this little secret and come to love this hugely under-appreciated band of beer-filled pop-punkers from Minnesota. If D4 has their way it’ll be a revolution with a smile followed by a massive kegger to celebrate.