June 10, 2003

Heros Severum "Wonderful Educated Bear"

I have intentionally held back on reviewing this until the true end of the Dismemberment Plan arrived. Why? Because comparisons would be unfair...to the Dismemberment Plan. See, the Plan were good, the Plan were great...but they're so 1999, and their day in the sun has now come to a close. Let's say farewell to Joe, Eric, Jason and Travis--their collective spirit shall always be missed, talked-about, and maybe, just maybe, they'll come back. But let's not count on it, okay--and let's not dishonor them by discussing who shall take their place. We should discuss who will be the ones to contiune their legacy, and Heros Severum are certainly a band worthy of such discussion.

To say that Heros Severum sound like early period Dismemberment Plan is stating the obvious. Lead singer Eric Friar has the same smart sassy singing style that Mr. Morrison made famous, and indeed, he sounds like a younger, less toured-out Travis. Indeed, Wonderful Educated Bear has the same overall quality that the Plan's wonderfully awkward debut album had. Can I answer why this might be? Why, of course--it's their producer, J. Robbins! You know, the Jawbreaker/Burning Airlines dude who produced those wonderful Plan albums! Also, like the Dismemberment Plan's first album, the lyrics on Wonderful Educated Bear are wonderful, educated...if you can bear 'em. While the Plan were lyrical clowns who had a great sound, Heros Severum is a reminder that before the Plan became the man, they owed their sound to awkward, odd, and overtly oblique bands like Trenchmouth and Fugazi. Just dig those crazy rhythms on "Rail Against the Contraption" and "Driving in a Perpetual Summer." Crazy, man!

Oh my goodness..I think they don't want to be the Dismemberment Plan...I think they are the Dismemberment Plan! I think Heros Severum are simply our generations Klattau or Bee Gees--bands who were famous for who they were thought to be and not their final reality. Only this time, it really is The Dismemberment Plan in disguise. Really, this has to be them. It simply is way too uncanny for mere coincidence. It's also a little questionable that these songs were also recorded during a D-Plan downtime in 2001 and 2002...so what, my friend, does this tell you? I thought so. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me...and could Heros Severum really Dismemberment Plan be? I told you.

While that whole math-rock thing might have run its course, it's good to see that there are some folk out there who take the angular and make it even more so--and throw it all off course with a healthy dose of intelligence, wit, and sarcasm. Mourn the Dismemberment Plan, if you must; realize, though, that their passing leaves room for someone to take their place. Will Heros Severum be the ones to do so? I dunno...will the Dismemberment Plan ever be able to live up to the gauntlet led behind by the demise of Candy Machine? A great debut record by a band who may or may have just recently called it quits.

--Joseph Kyle

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