Mixing angular post-punk guitars with '80s-inspired funk grooves, the Dismemberment Plan saw where indie rock was headed before most of its peers. So you'd expect that the Washington, D.C., band's first album in 12 years would feel like a victory lap, with a current of told-you-so electricity. As it turns out, the record lacks that energy — along with any other kind.
Full of dull riffs and saggy rhythms, "Uncanney Valley" makes you wonder why exactly frontman Travis Morrison reunited the group in 2011. At 40, he's naturally outgrown the twentysomething jitters that once drove him to write a song called "The Jitters."
But his musings on work, grown-up romance and the compromises required by fatherhood feel rudderless in comparison; nothing here convinces you that Morrison just had to get it off his chest. (An exception is "Let's Just Go to the Dogs Tonight," in which he yelps "Nothing really matters" with counterintuitive urgency.)
"I am not an inhibited man," the singer insists in "White Collar White Trash," but this album suggests otherwise.
One star (out of four)