Uncanney Valley - The Dismemberment Plan
Uncanney Valley Image
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first release in 12 years for the Washington DC rock quartet led by Travis Morrison was produced by the band's guitarist, Jason Caddell.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Oct 17, 2013
    80
    Morrison turns his ever-honest eyes towards fatherhood and commitment, while the band balance his emotional vulnerability on thin lines of guitar, dangling the whole thing over a churning ocean of rhythm.
  2. Oct 18, 2013
    70
    "Invisible" offers spacy prog; "Waiting" could be a sitcom theme song, and "Living in Song" and "Mexico City Christmas" are slinky, murky and devo-ish. There are also rapid-fire, traditional indie rockers and happy summer jams. [No. 103, p.55]
  3. Oct 30, 2013
    70
    Uncanney Valley is an enjoyable and accomplished record.
  4. Oct 29, 2013
    65
    An agitated yet hook-heavy affair, these 10 cuts feel like an act reacquainting itself, slipping into a creative comfort zone that still requires a little polish.
  5. Oct 14, 2013
    60
    Rather than nervy and isolated, this re-formed version of the band feels like they've got things more sorted out, replacing the uncertainty that marked albums like Emergency & I with a more carefree vibe. The change is one that makes sense, though.
  6. Oct 11, 2013
    60
    While not a failure, Uncanney Valley isn’t the glorious comeback many were expecting.
  7. Oct 25, 2013
    20
    Synths take a higher precedence this time round: it’s an indie-pop record, far from their post-hardcore roots; indeed Living in Song sounds like an Architecture in Helsinki knockoff. But even when you can hear the band trying out new things, it simply sounds turgid.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Oct 15, 2013
    8
    From all the releases this year, none are quite as nostalgic as this. Two years ago, I discovered The Dismemberment Plan in the best possible time. 2011 was the year that I made huge musical advances in my taste. One album in particular that struck me was The Dismemberment Plan's Emergency & I. It was different. It was fresh. I loved it and played it over and over again. Once I was graced with the chance to see The Dismemberment Plan in Chicago that summer, I thought my life was complete. One last chance to see the band during what seemed like a reunion tour was very humbling. Boy, I never expected them to actually stay together, let alone record a new album. Considering their last album was 2001's Change, there was a bit of a time gap to fill. And oh man, those 12 years have had their toll on the band. A more matured D-Plan has emerged from their forsaken hiatus, with dad-rock rhythms and thoughtful lyrics.

    From the somewhat seasonal sounding opener "No One Is Saying Nothing", The D-Plan try to jump right back in where they left off. Although the track really would have been an awkward addition on previous albums, it seems to fit as the opening track for a new breed of D-Plan songs. "Waiting", the first track released from the band's newly announced return, really needs at least 3 or 4 listens to soak in. At first, its off-beat electronic beeps and sporadic bass line are difficult to handle. Once you adjust to this new effort, it really does sound spectacular. The same goes for "Invisible", the next track on the album. With its beautiful violin intro, Travis Morrison's singing/talking invades and illustrates a sad story. This track is the closest The D-Plan will get to previous album hits such as "Spiders In The Snow" and "Following Through". "White Collar White Trash", the upbeat, eclectic track that features strange lyrics and unique instrumentation brings a new sound to the band's discography. It still imitates previous chaotic sounds, but this time, it sounds a lot more controlled. "Living In Song" and "Lookin'" seem more like transition tracks, simplistic and easily forgettable. Sure, they sound great, but there is nothing outstanding about either of them. "Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer", a danceable ballad picks up speed and reminds the listeners that The D-Plan can make brilliant songs about pretty much anything. "Mexico City Christmas", another highlight of the album, sheds light on who The D-Plan really is. Their origins trace back to chaotic, college sounding tracks filled with youthful lyrics and catchy beats. This track is one final throwback to the old days. "Go And Get It" is a strange affair. With an intro reminiscent of "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons and any number of Coldplay songs, this track is an attempt to make stadium rock. Although the band does not present itself as this type of mainstream group, I could definitely picture this song blaring over the speakers at a hockey game. Often the final D-Plan song on an album is a good farewell song. This is still true with "Let's Just Go To The Dogs Tonight". This song only feels at home at the ending of the album. With lyrics about saying goodbye and clichéd "repeat after me" verses, we can all wave goodbye to the band that has done a fine effort in their return to the alternative crowd.

    Even though I miss the chaos of the old D-Plan, I am happy that the band has not strayed too far from their original sound and kept their signature innovative instrumentation and exceptional vocals. They grow up so fast.
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  2. Oct 16, 2013
    8
    I've been a fan of Dismemberment Plan since their first two albums. 12 years have passed since the release of "Change" and I lost my hope a long time ago to hear a new LP from these guys. But it's just a gift to hear new material from them. "Uncanney Valley" is an album that follows the natural progression from "Change" and the solo albums from Travis Morrison. But you won't find here the eclectic D Plan from their first albums. So if you like the old D Plan, and if you were not happy with their last album "Change", you will see it's not worth listening. It's not an "Emergency & I" or "Is Terrified".

    But if you loved "Change", maybe after a few listens you will get a happy nostalgic feeling. It's not a perfect album, not what I would have expected from them in their full potential years ago, but it's so good to hear these new songs. They came back 12 years older, but I'm 12 years older too. Then I still feel in "Uncanney Valley" the things that made me love this band. It's been a very good surprise.
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