Despite the calmer demeanor, Change is a very worth follow-up to the Plan's 1999 opus Emergency & I. While part of the brilliance of Emergency was its seamless blend of just about every popular music genre imaginable, Change finds its brilliance in its flow, consistency, and beauty. If Emergency was the out-of-control party, Change is the morning after with guests gone and the host waking up in a confused daze. "Superpowers" and "Ellen & Ben" are elevated by great keyboard work, something the Plan do with much vigor and creativity. The guitars are generally clean, but very uplifting and gorgeous. A general tone of regret, confusion, depression, and hope emits throughout, and the Plan's use of contradicting moods in terms of music and corresponding lyrics are utterly fantastic. A pretty piece such as "Superpowers" is a little self-depricating while the rise and fall of "Ellen & Ben"'s relationship carries a generally jolly tone. These contradicting tones result in a satisfying lack of melodrama and makes for a very sincere album. Travis' diction and lyrics are some of the best coming from any band: very original, emotional, strange, and clever. The minimalism of "Automatic" works in ways "The Jitters" only hinted at, "Time Bomb" is a desperate confessional in which every line is felt, and "Face Of The Earth"'s dub and hip-hop undertones show a greater understanding and love of both genres than just about every rap-metal band out there. The more mature, mellow tone might disappoint some at first, but repeated listens just get better and better. Change could very well be the ultimate Dismemberment Plan album. Definitely one of the greatest bands out there.
P.S. Someone on the Emergency & I board said that the Plan sounded terrible live. He/She must have caught a bad show because they were fantastic when I saw them live in D.C. this month.