Travis Morrison, the former front man from Dismemberment Plan, has just released his debut solo project Travistan. Fans of the now defunct Dismemberment will be able to find some familiarity in this new album. Travis blends punk, hip-hop, funk, and what sounds like Atari noises, to create a sound all of his own.
I am having trouble deciding if Travis’ lyrics are brilliant or insane, I’m leaning towards brilliant. The songs “Get Me Off This Coin A, B, C, D” are sung from the perspective of various presidents asking to be taken off of the penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. One of my favorite lines from the album is Thomas Jefferson saying “I like my nations in constant revolution, and my booty wide.” It manages to sum up his political beliefs and his affair with Sally Hemmings.
Much of the album confronts a range of social issues. “Song for the Orca” is a song about caged and mistreated animals that rise up to kill their captors. Others, like “Any Open Door,” and “Angry Angel” have a more political bent that seem to address the happenings and deep divisions of the past several years.
Travistan is a wonderfully diverse album, and unlike anything else you are likely to hear. There are variations within the songs themselves. In one three-and-a-half-minute song, you can feel as if you have heard several different songs from different eras. “Born in 72” is a perfect example of this, going from funk to orchestral, while also including the sounds of a studio audience. It can be quite exciting, because you are never really sure where he is going to go next. It can be quite dark at times, but Travis adds humor and up-tempo beats to lighten the mood. A fresh sound, and strong lyrics make this album a joy to listen to.