As a general rule, I tend to avoid double albums like—well, not quite the Plague—maybe just a pretty girl with a slightly-suspect cold sore, or anything by the Dave Matthews Band. And honestly, the one double-record set I’ve ever really dug as a whole was Floyd’s Ummagumma, and only then because that oeuvre de strange-junk quietly embraced its own clusterf—ktitude and didn’t ever insist that anyone should be listening to the thing—just that they could, if they felt like a trip down the rabbit hole. Because, hell, let’s not forget that even The Wall deemed it necessary to include “Bring the Boys Back Home” (in the name of narrative continuity, of course). And then there was that third helping of “Another Brick in the Wall” we all needed so much to hear... It inevitably rings true—invest too much in the real estate, and you’re bound to buy some crap just to fill the space.
On Patrol, the debut two-pack record from Brooklyn-based D.O.T.S. C.O.N.F.U.S.E. M.I.N.D.S. (liberal use of capitals and periods theirs), has plenty of fill’er-ups of its own—it’s gonna happen whenever any band of greenhorns throws twenty-plus tracks on vinyl their first time around—but even the painfully excessive Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, wherein Billy Corgan explained to us just how angsty the early ‘90s made him feel for more than two hours while a rather insisting orchestra played from the pulpit, left the world with “Tonight, Tonight,” “1979,” and a respectable bucket of lingering alt-staples you’ve probably heard in the past week. And DCM’s froshie release is a helluva lot more fun to listen to.
A sampling platter of what’s between the lines of On Patrol, in no particular order:
(1) The Dookie-does-Brooklyn tracks, i.e. loose ‘n’ snarky songs like “Steve’s Mom” and “JennYouWhine” that are exactly what you’d expect’d happen if a bunch of aspirant twenty-somethings from Dumbo got PBR-drunk in the middle of the day and one of ‘em with a Robin Thicke haircut pulled out his “thrift store” Martin to jam. Probably a kid who listens to the Strokes and Jimmy Ray (but only ironically.)
(2) “She’s Back Again,” i.e. one of the more lyrically juvenile tracks on the record, which boasts such highbrow lines as “She comes around at recess / She won’t share her Reese’s Pieces / and she makes me so depressed / by the way that she is dressed.” Someone can try telling me there’s a metaphor here, but I ain’t buying it.
(3) The archetypal Molly Hatchet-lite tracks, i.e. “Where or Where” or any of the handful of other southern-influenced straight-shooters that made the final cut—pretty clean across the board and not an overly weak one in the bunch—the backbone of the set (if it needs one.)
(4) The jam tracks, i.e. the Grateful Dead-friendly crunchy folk tunes that include “Simon’s Tomb” and “Midnight Spite” in the bunch, happy-go-jolly and never trying too hard to get nowhere in particular. Dots could be onto something if they steer their vintage Huffys in this direction.
(5) The Blues Traveler-ers, i.e. pretty much whatever no-worries poppy day-off territory the band was heading toward with “Destination Getaway.”
(6) “Step,” i.e. a Widespread Panic opener slowly but surely devolving into Of Monsters and Men-meets-Mountain Goats melancholy sing-song, and my personal choice for best of the bunch, aside from maybe the first half of the “Simon” duo found elsewhere on Side One.
So that’s that. All-in-all, On Patrol is a respectable collection from a group that’s decided to have all its growing pains in one blink—there’s good, there’s bad, and there’s “Mister Twister,” sure, but what the takeaway should be is that DCM seems to be trying where it counts and (relatively speaking) leaving the rest of the hipster-perbole to higher minds. That, and they seem like decent-enough folks who enjoy the goings-on of the whole so-called business. And in a day and age when the Pixies’ songbook has gone from a haphazard bag of “that’s not half bad” three-minute’ers to “this is Art, man...” what more can you ask for?