Dislocation Dance, a heralded quartet from Manchester, England, bounced into the 9:30 club Saturday night with one of the most confusing amalgams of influences to be collected in a single band. In a world of hyphenations, Dislocation Dance has gone to the extreme, indulging in a restless and generally aimless montage of pop-Latin-swing-folk-jazz-funk-sound-track themes. It's little more than an extension of the hallowed English music hall tradition juiced up with electricity; at the 9:30 it sounded like Herman's Hermits meeting the Tijuana Brass, bouncy but vacuous.
The surfeit of stylistic influences wasn't helped by the group's weak compositions or dull singing. The only plus was Andy Diagram and his bright, Al Hirt-like trumpet cascades. Unfortunately, these grew tedious with repetition.
The evening was redeemed by a young Washington quartet, Day for Night. Its consistently propulsive, cutting edge, anchored by a skilled and apparently tireless rhythm section, has the passion and directness so lacking in Dislocation Dance. Singer Amy Buchanan's well-constructed songs are brittle and intelligent, the kind of mental floss that shows that while Day for Night may have cut its teeth on such influences as Talking Heads and X, the group's incisive rock is ready to stand on its own. This is a group worth waiting for.