The importance of the punk rock compilation cannot be stressed enough. Without music videos, and radio air play, the true D.I.Y. punk rock community has to rely on other means of getting their music exposed. This is where meaningful marketing, one that is not aimed at accumulating copious amounts of money, comes into play. Independent magazines, run by the neighborhood punks, will do an interview or a review of your band and then place the zine out for free in local record stores or other places around town; people, if they dig your band a lot, will go ahead and throw out some huge word of mouth support while talking to people at shows; and of course labels will lose tons of money in putting out cheap compilation discs of their artists.
One such label that is all about the cheap compilation albums is Hopeless Records. Early on in the labels career, Hopeless Records put out three sampler CD's with a "cinema beer" theme, with titles like Cinema Beer Belly and Cinema Beer Goggles. After dropping that gimmick they moved on to another one, this time revolving around some nice word play with their label's name. These compilation discs are the Hopelessly Devoted To You volumes, which came out when Hopeless Records was still developing as a key player in the punk rock scene, but somehow they managed to sells these babies for only four bucks each, with most volumes having twenty plus songs.
Our Science Is Tight is a track by Dillinger Four found on one of these cheap, four buck maximum punk rock compilations, put out by the aforementioned Hopeless Records, Hopelessly Devoted To You Vol. 3. Released on October 3rd, 2000, Hopelessly Devoted To You Vol. 3 came out a handful of months before Dillinger Four's second full-length album, Versus God, which was obviously put out by Hopeless Records. In support of this album Hopeless also threw a track from Versus God onto the comp, Maximum Piss And Vinegar, along with the previously unreleased Our Science Is Tight. This happened in the past when Dillinger Four released Midwestern Songs Of The Americas, as Hopelessly Devoted To You Too Vol. 2 was released a month before it's released, and featured an unreleased song, Bite The Curb, Bite The Curb, and a song off of the debut album, Superpowers Enable Me To Blend In With Machinery.
But let's get back on track to the song at hand. Our Science Is Tight is the first track on Hopelessly Devoted To You Vol. 3, and it makes sense that it would be so, as not only is it one of the best songs on the compilation, which isn't hard to achieve as the rest of the songs are either ska related or silly pop-punk, but it is also an excellent song to kick things off with. Dillinger Four obviously realized the power of this song as an opening as well, since twice when I saw them live, once relatively before the release of Versus God, and once afterwards, they used this song to open up their set.
After a brief bout of warm up feedback a distorted guitar riff enters the room telling the other instruments that they're about ready to start. By the end of this riffs call the palm-muted guitar, maxed out bass, and building drums join in on the party. After they do their four rounds of melody a smashed cymbal and sustained Em power chord crunch out the end of the introduction, but the calm doesn't last long, as Paddy belts out a countdown and things begin to move.
After another brief introduction round the vocals kick in placed over the palm-muted verse. After one time through everything cuts out, and D4 gives their patented name drop, this time for Lester Bangs, not Harold Washington or Otis Redding, before everything jumps back into the scene with new dynamics and new power. After this second time through the verse the song pretends like it will drop out again, perhaps for another allusion, but instead it goes into the questioning verse ("Who the fuck are you?") that is catchy despite it's predictable simplicity. The next momentary verse, which sports another Dillinger Four staple with giving all three singers a part to sing, lasts for only once through before it's back into the chorus, which doesn't last very long either.
After the last chorus the team decides to throw in an ominous bridge with a dissonant feedback accompaniment. After this brooding middle eighth things are kicked back into high spirits as they proclaim their validity and importance. With some nice octaves carrying a closing melody the band states "And when one runs out of things to say, maybe they should stop", halting all instruments right before Paddy calls stop.
An ironic humor is one of the prime aspects to Dillinger Four, and Our Science Is Tight is dripping with that irony. The lyrics to the song discuss many things in particular, but it all revolves around the idea that punk rock, and greatly rock music in general, is dying because of stale ideas and recycled thoughts. Dillinger Four might seem egotistical with the last few lines of the song, which the band probably only meant half-heartily, but it is in many ways true, as their sound is completely unique and unlike anything else that has happened in punk rock.
But the great irony, however, is that this song kicks off a compilation that is filled with bands who are doing things that have been done to death, and things that are completely unoriginal. In fact, after the stop is called out a song by The Weakerthans kicks right in, and it's a song that is stereotypical, heartbreak-fueled pop-punk with pseudo-poetic lyrics about girls. But oh well, with Our Science Is Tight, and later on Maximum Piss and Vinegar, Hopelessly Devoted To You Vol. 3 is worth your 4 bucks. And trust me, Dillinger Four's science is very tight.
Now it's time,
It's time to wreck this place,
It's time to laugh,
Fuck saving face,
The only thing I want to save is the image of your face,
When I show up to your prom with the ghost of Lester Bangs.
They yell for "rock!",
And it's a funny thing,
So did your dad,
Does that tell you anything?
As we huddle around our relic hoping for new ways to sell it,
But once it helps you to get laid do you have to be the one to kill it?
Who the fuck are you?
Where did you come from?
Is this the way things should be,
Or just a feast of crumbs?
So you color us the assholes,
As you gripe about the scene,
Celebrating archaic hassles,
Calling it validity,
Hold old photos to a lighter, making the colors stand out brighter,
As you think of time you didn't wonder "why?", and it seemed to make a difference.
Everything we do is like a contribution,
A new perspective to be heard,
But when one runs out of things to say,
Maybe they should stop.
Lyrics included legally through the 33% rule.