The Dismemberment Plan Uncanney Valley
The dropoff in quality of Travis Morrison’s output after their final pre-breakup album Change was drastic. It was like he lost all sense of quality control, and forgot everything that was good about what he did. His debut solo album Travistan might not have deserved the 0.0 Pitchfork gave it, but it was unexpectedly underwhelming. When they reformed for some live shows, I was still going to go see them, but when I heard they were recording a fifth album I had the usual mixed feelings you have when a reformed group say they’re recording new material. I put faith into the strength of their back catalogue and hoped that they would collectively only release something if they felt it was up to standard.
Uncanney Valley ended up being worse than bad, it was boring. At least Travistan was trying something new, even if those experiments were mostly failures. It was just one forgettable song after another, all delivered as if they already knew it was bad as they were recording it, and thought that in itself was some sort of statement. Like once upon a time they made music they thought was good because it was their sole source of income, but now they had day jobs so they could just fuck around. My Stockholm syndrome allowed me to think it was OK back when it came out, but year later and I can’t get through a few seconds of any of those tracks now without skipping.