It would be hard for any band to follow up a near-perfect album such as Midwestern Songs for the Americas. With said album being the Dillinger Four’s 1998 full-length debut, these four Minneapolis natives proved to the Hopeless Records audience that pop-punk can be equally fun, snotty and intelligent at the same time. And for everyone who has experienced the group’s live show, Dillinger Four also have proven that politically inspired wit isn’t shadowed by drunken-naked stage antics.
What’s distinctive about Dillinger Four’s follow-up album, Versus God, is that there isn’t a blatant progression from the aforementioned debut. Not that this is a particularly bad thing: The sing-along choruses, the rocking out pop-punk that goes beyond the verse-chorus-verse structure and the insightful lyrics that personify the surroundings of social frustrations remain in the Dillinger Four program. As the cliché goes, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t bother fixing it.” Or something like that.
The above “social frustrations” are seen in “Q. How Many Punks Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?,” as the Dillinger Four point out how the fashion and music of punk rock overshadow the importance of what a band is actually singing about. “Singing along with all your breath/No sound comes out ’cause there’s just wind behind it/Swallow but don’t digest/You’ve heard it all once and don’t like to be reminded.”
The members of Dillinger Four didn’t have any intentions to outdo themselves or progress their sound after releasing their first album. Perhaps they’ve individually matured and learned more how to creatively bounce off one another in the last two years. But regardless of the progressions that have been made with the band, these guys aren’t going to change for anybody — musically or ideally.
Mike DaRonco writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail email@example.com.