Shooting Vinyl: Dillinger Escape Plan "Ire Works"
I like writing about music. I like taking pictures. I now spend too much money on records. I decided I'd combine all three for the sake of a piece of quick content. What a guy eh?
Decided I'd start off this wee series of blogs with "Ire Works" by Dillinger Escape Plan. It was the band's third full length, released on Relapse Records in 2007, it saw them lose a founding member prior to the writing process and for some of their earlier fans it was probably the beginning of the end.
I can't say I'm one of those fans though. I love it. From start to finish, I think it's an incredible record. Not quite up to the standards of it's predecessor, the completely brilliant "Miss Machine", but still fantastic in every way.
Dillinger's later records have kind of perfected their combination of alt rock, left field and pop influences with the caustic end of metal and hardcore, but on 'Ire Works" it was still kind of a case of a song being one or the other. That being the said, it might not be the most cohesive record in their back catalogue, those songs are incredibly focused and well realised.
Sure, the pop stomp of "Black Bubblegum'' and the electronic backed falsetto of ''Sick on a Sunday" is a bit of a glaring contrast to the white hot anger of "Fix Your Face" and the crushing brutality of "82588"...but it still sounds pretty great. Especially on that awfully attractive pink vinyl. Shout out to Steve Evetts for being the man behind the desk.
I think it says a lot about Dillinger that this album was even made. The band's drummer and co-founder, a huge part of the sound, left, their guitarist suffered nerve damage and left. To all intents and purposes the band were reduced to songwriter Ben Weinman, vocalist Greg Puciato and bassist Liam Wilson.
Luckily Weinman's penchant for using piano, electronics and guitar as equal writing tools paid off making the album marvellously eclectic and pushing some of the elements the band explored on ''Miss Machine'' to the next level.Particularly the pulsing and stuttering electronic soundscapes that weave their way throughout the album. These are also echoed in the striking artwork which looks so much better on the vinyl that it did on my original CD of the album.
Also Made Out of Babies, and reggae, drummer Gil Sharone came on board to record and tour the record. Dude rips. Hard.
For me though the real star of this album is vocalist Greg Puciato. His screaming sounds as intense and aggressive as you could want but it's capable of variation in tone and control that few other vocalists display. His singing voice is also beautiful, and distinctive, with the strength and fragility of his falsetto vocal on this record being pretty stunning. Lyrically as well the album is pretty evocative with more than a few great one liners.
That being said, it's Weinman's sonic canvas which allows Puciato to paint such vivid pictures. The closer, 'Mouth of Ghosts, is my favourite Dillinger song. Easily. It's mostly intricate piano and soft, delicate vocals before it builds to shattering crescendo. It's fucking wonderful and proves that Dillinger are much more than the noise mongers many would paint them as.
I'm pretty sentimental about this band right now. I love them and they're going to split up. For the best of reasons though. Which is awesome. But I can't describe how much this band's sound, attitude and sense of aesthetics... have influenced me. I'm going miss them like I would an old friend.
My own creative process is mostly influenced by three things: Henry Rollins, Stewart Lee and the Dillinger Escape Plan. Given how invested I am, in a wanky sort of way, in being a creative that makes them pretty important to me.
But the beauty of records is they'll never go anywhere. When I throw "Ire Works" on my turn table I'll be able to explore this band countless times, and be reminded of all the reasons they inspire me and why this record can still evoke such an emotional response in me.
Plus, like I said earlier, that pink vinyl thing is pretty cool.