Sound — 8
Who Are We Living For?, Dispatch's fourth and last studio album turned out to be a major departure from their previous recordings, mostly due to the fact that this album is electric. While they played many of their songs electric on tour, this was the first time they made a studio record that wasn't acoustic. It's not that jarring of a change though; the trio's musicianship shines through no matter how they play, and the song's are all undeniably Dispatch. It's still that mixture of funk, jazz, world, R&B, and rap-tinged rock and roll that the band seems to have perfected. At 21 tracks, there are a couple forgettable songs, but they end up serving to reinforce the power of the cream of the crop. And as a special bonus, one of the last tracks on the album is an enthusiastic cover of Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade."
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, Who Are We Living For? is saturated by leftist political issues such as homelessness, violence and justice. Specifically, "Open Up," "Time Served," "Passerby," and "Blood" all have clear political undertones (one can almost see a prelude to singer/guitarist Chad Urmston's next band, State Radio.) Because of this, the album has a more somber tone than say, Bang Bang, but it still has that inherent catchiness and memorability that Dispatch is known and loved for. The trio regularly switch off lead singing duties and employ harmonies that Layne Staley & Jerry Cantrell would be proud of.
Overall Impression — 9
Disillusioned ex-fans of Dave Matthews would feel right at home listening to Dispatch, which is not to say that those who aren't into the DMB would be turned off; Dispatch has a refreshing lack of pretention and pomposity that makes it so easy to connect with their music. The album has many songs ("Carry You," "Prince of Spades," "Lightning," "Even") that would become staples of Dispatch's live shows. The lengthy tracklist has some filler, but it doesn't really detract from the album as a unit. It may be more serious in tone, but these songs would be just as fitting around a campfire as they would be at a protest rally. Dispatch wrote another winner with Who Are We Living For, and any fan should definitely have this in their collection.