The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower
Dissertation, Honey
Happy Couples Never Last
2003
B-

oftentimes experimentation gets in the way of songwriting. The novelty of an added instrument or something unexpected takes the place of integrating these elements into an already existing arrangement. The best music comes when these two elements merge- and then stretch the boundaries of what a song can be. The worst music often comes when these two elements exist- but grate against one another in a contest to see which will win. And then we have the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, which falls somewhere in between on their debut record, but more often than not succeeds in its quest to integrate the sounds of trumpet, saxophone, and spoken word. And in this bland world of hardcore bands constantly reliving the past, why shouldn’t the group attempt to present something new? If the only points of reference that come to most reviewer’s minds in hearing the record that come to mind are Refused, At The Drive-In, and the Rise it can only be a good thing, right? Right.


Clocking in at barely over 25 minutes, Dissertation, Honey fulfills a number of purposes: it never overstays its welcome, it presents a number of ideas for further examination, and is easily digestible for fans outside of the genre. The group moves from a smoky jazz, “It’s In His Kiss,” to unrepentant hardcore, “Comeback 1968,” to a mix of both, “Sometimes I Wish I’d Lost A Leg,” effortlessly. But the success of these three kinds of songs rely more on the fact that they all sound comfortable around each other, rather than being genre workouts. But in the middle of the album there is a lull in which the band appears to rest on its laurels, reveling in releasing shards of distorted hardcore that obviously come naturally to the group. It’s something that they are good at, but it barely makes an impression on someone who is familiar with the genre and is looking for something far greater from a band that seems to pose such possibilities. Obviously the band is most comfortable coming from its hardcore roots, but the group seems to be moving close to an almost organic synthesis of the non-traditional instruments into their repertoire.


In essence, the album is not a completely original or successful effort, but it shows the willingness of the group to attempt to make something greater than the music of their former bands. And for this, at the very least, the group should be commended and listened to with interest, because with a few years and more experience their next releases will surely be something to behold. Besides, the worst music that comes when the two competing elements compete against one another is far more interesting than when there is no competing at all. At least this group seems to have something at stake, which is more than most can say for much of hardcore anymore.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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