Release Date: Mar 18, 2014
Record label: Vagrant
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore
La Dispute could be accused of being too straightforward in their emotional narratives, unafraid of pouring every emotion, relationship, opinion and reason for writing inside of their work. But to claim this negates all the subtlety and precision in how the stories are told, and how music and voice are used to inflect emotional highs and lows. Hailing from Grand Rapids, Mich., the five-piece has long been praised by those in the know, but ignored by many of the taste-making magazines and websites.
Review Summary: An album of snapshots and the places in which those moments are housed.People who grow up in small towns or any other sort of close-knit community have to deal every day with the weight of reputation. Because they are constantly in danger of being remembered for that one stupid thing they did as a kid, it almost seems safer sometimes to attempt to blend into the background. After all, splashes made in small, still bodies of water spread outward for quite a while.
It's hard to find a mid-ground when it comes to La Dispute. Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair and Hear,Here III are the records that stand out to me and while Rooms Of The House manages to continue their lyrical narrative about human relationships and connectivity. It steers La Dispute into a wider musical exploration, as they divert into a more melodic stream.
Over two albums, Michigan post-hardcore band La Dispute have established themselves as a solid act but ‘Rooms Of The House’, a concept album detailing the collapse of a co-habiting couple, sees the band properly impress. Powerfully tying together disparate influences and big themes, their workmanlike guitars and burly rhythm section are a solid foundation for frontman Jordan Dreyer’s dense lyrics, both sung and spoken. “I promised we’d rearrange things to fix the mess I’d made here, But I guess in the end we just moved furniture around” he sings on ‘For Mayor In Splitsville’, nailing the shattered spirit which lies at the centre of this album’s broken heart.
I bloody hated poetry at school. I don’t know what your experience was like, but those seemingly never-ending anthology books full of Seamus Heaney’s outlook on potatoes were a daunting time in English lessons. Let me explain. A classroom of students, all reading with little-to-no rhythm and even less enthusiasm destroyed what should have been an enlightening, engrossing class, especially for someone who was borderline useless in his academic ventures unless it came to the written word.
La Dispute are no strangers to eloquent bursts of emotion. With their previous two records, the Michigan five-piece have stood balanced on the edge of a knife. Dangling somewhere between delicate, almost spoken-word stories of melancholy, and the explosive, unharnessed spitting of words, they’re a band who have never been afraid to play with the boundaries of concept and cadence.This time, though, with ‘Rooms Of The House’, they push even harder.Their lyrics feel darker, the stories more tangible, more terrifying.
Maturation is a weird word. Plenty of artists playing decidedly immature music throw it around to make their newest compositions seem weightier, when in reality, they’re no different than the material they’ve been cranking out for years. La Dispute are different. One listen to their third full-length, the Will Yip-produced Rooms Of The House, and it’s clear they’ve continued to mature as songwriters and musicians since 2011’s incredible (and incredibly dense) Wildlife.