In an era when countless bands were emulating successful formulas from years past, the Dismemberment Plan was a refreshing departure: It wasn't a punk band, yet it played with the furious intensity of one. And it wasn't a funk or jazz act, but its rhythmic sophistication hinted at such influences. The Dismemberment Plan was also one of the few acts to mix soul and prog without sounding like idiots. That band's frontman, Travis Morrison, was an unexpectedly charismatic figure on stage. He didn't look like a rock star, but his nerdy presence and jittery energy made him an oddly compelling and sometimes intimidating performer. His solo debut, 2004's Travistan, was not the radical departure that many had expected. With Hellfighters, however, Morrison sounds like he's shed the spiky angularity of the Plan and plugged into the infectiously buoyant energy he always had in him.
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