A Dispatch Concerning Dispatch: Circles Around the Sun

Dispatch’s new album was released today, Tuesday, 8/21/12.

That’s something you might have never thought you’d hear again after they broke up in 2002. And again after their “final concert” in 2004. And then when they never quite re-united, but played a killer show for Zimbabwe in 2007.

The three equal bandleaders have, once again, put their egos and global pursuits aside to just divvy-up instruments and make music for a minute. And Circles Around the Sun sounds pretty sharp for their first record of new music since 2000.

Mad Dispatch energy is apparent right from the start, but the vibe is a bit more aggressive. The opening title track (video included here) is a lot more driving drum/guitar than we’re used to from the laid back gents. But a great rocker. The second tune a straight-up low-fi rapper. “Get Ready Boy” is back to some fast banjo. Just like Dispatch: the guys are still doing what they want, in order.

And still singing for the people: “When he was born/ The doc said ‘What’s this?/ He’s much too small/ It’s like he’s weightless’/ When he turned six/ They ran some tests/ They said it’s for science/ It’s patriotic/ ‘Ah, let’s send him where no one else has gone/ After all he cannot speak or walk/ Let’s send him to the moon/ Do circles round the sun.'”

My favorite tune — “Sign of the Times” — sounds right about where Dispatch should be after all these years. Percussion still prominent, whirling guitars whipping our thoughts away. Wind up that kickdrum and thumb the bass.

“Come to Me” is an eerily slow burner. This album is going to get a grade of nearly 5 Strings just for being interesting. I’ll be jamming this for a while (but the last three songs kinda fall off the express train we all bought a ticket for at the beginning).

Still.. a late entry for album of the summer? I think so. (A summer dominated, so far, by new Hot Chip, Grouplove (still) and newcomers (to me) Harlem Shakes.)

I have to admit: I never even heard of Dispatch until they started re-uniting. And there is no good reason for that. 1998’s Bang Bang has a similar sound and feel to the Lucky Boys Confusion I was jamming at the time (just a little more worldly than suburban angst). Perhaps it was for the best — I probably would have been crushed (and didn’t need another headache after all the musicians we lost in the ’90s).

Whether or not Dispatch is actually back, I’m going to enjoy this reunion and look forward to the inevitable next.

For a preview of the album, check out the embedded player at the band’s site: DispatchMusic.com.


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  • I have to admit, I was thinking this new single wouldn't sound as good as it did. "Circles Around..." sounded great, really upbeat and rocking. I really liked a few of their old LP's and am excited to check this out.

  • In reply to radstarr:

    Right? I was stoked with how good that sounded too. And i REALLY dig "Sign of the Times." Spooky jam.

    I still jam their album Bang Bang all the time. Dipatch is one of those bands i get addicted to very easily, until i can't get the stuff out of my head!

  • fb_avatar

    Overall, “Circles Around the Sun” dips its toes into Dispatch’s past, providing a nostalgic glimpse into the bands first four albums while progressing and venturing on to new musical horizons. Long time fans will find a familiar sound in title track, “Josaphine,” and “Never or Now” but may be skeptical of the new direction Dispatch has taken in the songs “Flag,” “Come to Me,” and “We Hold a Gun.” It is obvious that Urnston, Corrigan, and Heimbold have each ventured in different musical directions over the past ten years and “Circles Around the Sun” is a valiant effort to patch each of their unique and evolved songwriting styles together. However, the seams are apparent, and the album is not as cohesive as their previous four albums from the late 90’s.
    To read the full review of "Circles Around the Sun" visit: http://musicaldruggernauts.blogspot.com/2012/09/dispatchcircles-around-sun.html

  • In reply to Ryan Beard:

    Should i have gotten up for popcorn? Didn't know there was going to be a commercial break here...

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