Just what you need: Dillinger Four

by Brianna Riplinger

A few months ago Delia’s clothing catalogs (for high school and college- aged girls who like Michelle Branch but don’t subscribe to Abercrombie or Gap ideology) featured young girls proudly sneering at the camera as they adorned bondage pants and spiked bracelets. (The pants were suspiciously called “Sid Pants” ñ “Who’s Sid?” I bet the 13-year-old consumers wonder aloud at sleepovers). Amidst the mainstreaming of punk into fashion and music, the teeny-bopper set seems to be the current target.

The New Pop Punk bands (Blink 182, Sum 41, etc.) are appealing to TRL-watching youth who are (thankfully) craving something a little more dangerous and less schmaltzy than N’SYNC and Britney. Unfortunately, they are still missing out, aren’t they? I mean, sure, that brand of punk is fun and mindless, but shouldn’t punk make you think? Aren’t decent punk bands also supposed to be bawdy, witty and critical of the world around them? And they damn well had better talk about how corporate America is once again trying to cash in on something as pure and rebellious as punk rock.

Thank Minneapolis’ Dillinger Four for doing just that. They’re everything a great punk rock band should be. With their latest album, Situationist Comedy, they’re attacking the “fists, head, and heart” of their listeners with defiant and smart lyrics backed by ferociously fast guitar and drums. One of the best songs on the album, “New Punk Fashions For the Spring Formal” seems to directly address the Delia’s Girl/corporate punk issue. Lyrics like, “Are you ready to be Davy to the new Goliath / Taking notes at your all-ages show / It’s like the marketing department has finally figured out that ‘The Pit’ can always make more room,” seem to be a warning to punk bands that are “making it” as well as the audiences who support them. “All Rise for the National Anthem” is an articulate and much-needed punk comment on our nation’s recent political agenda.

Songs like “Fuzzy Pink Hand-Cuffs” and “Folk Song” rock with speedy, grinding guitars that carry the song up with melodic shout-along-able vocals. And if you can’t remember all the punked-up advice given on the album (“Save yourself now / Let ideology sink / Hypocrisy surrounds / Say what you want, etc”) whenever you’re in doubt, never forget what they say: WWD4D?