After what seemed like an almost endless wait, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN have finally returned with the follow up to the mind blowing “Calculating Infinity”. Everyone, including the band, knew that the pressure was on and that odds were almost entirely against them, especially with the loss of vocalist Dimitri Minakakis, who was replaced with the less than impressive Greg Puciato (at least in a live setting).
Knowing that “Calculating Infinity” will most probably always be one of, if not the best chaotic records of all time, DEP needed to take a different route in order to stay relevant, and, despite what the opening track might lead you to believe, that’s exactly what they’ve done. In fact, “Panasonic Youth” is a perfect example of why they needed to deviate their style. While a competent track, it would have been considered as one of the lesser tracks on “Calculating Infinity” The one thing that is an improvement of sorts are the vocals. While Greg still can’t compete with Dimitri, he is much better on disc than on stage.
From that point on, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN really become a different kind of beast and while certain elements appear throughout that remind you that this is in fact still a DEP album, many other elements throughout would lead you to believe otherwise.
“Phone Home” is probably the least DEP sounding track on the album, sounding more like a NINE INCH NAILS b-side instead, right down to the keyboards and the vocals. Other songs, like “Unretrofied” come of sounding like more accessible, almost top-40 styled song, although not quite.
Have the changes that DEP underwent been for the best though? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, this doesn’t come close to “Calculating Infinity”, but on the other, it is a good album when taken on its own. There’s a lot to discover in these twelve tracks and there’s definitely a lot of repeated enjoyment that can come out of the album, just don’t go in expecting it to live up to their debut. (Online September 3, 2004)