Released: Mar 18, 2014
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Emo, Indie Rock
Label: Better Living, Staple Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
Almost three years after the huge "Wildlife," La Dispute is back with a new album. This time the band opted to make things in a more "subtle" way, in terms of sound.
Rooms Of The House
pqp_vcs, on august 04, 2014 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Almost three years after the huge "Wildlife," La Dispute is back with a new album. This time the band opted to make things in a more "subtle" way, in terms of sound. All the passion is still here, but the delivery is a little different. Back until "Wildlife," the music itself sounded a lot more urgent, whereas now the it's a lot more focused and somber (Jordan even does a few clean singing in some tracks). It's not a shift of direction by any means, but an expansion of their sound. Some tracks sound like garage/indie rock ("For Mayor in Splitsville"), while others remind bands like Slint ("Objects in Space" and "Woman (In Mirror)." It has a lot to do with the story and the imagery the band wants to depict this time, filled with nostalgia and old memories visited. But there's still place for their trademark energetic and dynamic songs like "Stay Happy There" and "35."
The singer Jordan Dreyer still spills his heart out with passionate spoken-word singing/screaming, but follows the same path as the music, sounding somewhat mellower overall, and saving the bursts of screaming for certain parts. // 8
Lyrics: As much as La Dispute's instrumentation is rich and full of pleasant details, the lyrics always got a lot more attention, and it's completely understandable (although music and lyrics complement each other perfectly).
As said before, nostalgia and remembrance are the key elements of the album's theme. This time we are welcomed to the main character's old memories of a relationship. Jordan's lyrics evoke vivid imagery in the listener's mind, detailing with precision important events in the character's life. The first lines make an exact prelude of what's to come ("There are bridges over rivers / there are moments of collapse / there are drivers with their feet on the glass / you kick but you can't get out / there is history in the rooms of the house"). Jordan also used real life events to enrich the story: a quick google search takes you to the Hudsonville tornado in 1956, which is the background for the opening track, "Hudsonville MI, 1956." Another key point in the story is the 35 bridge collapse detailed in the song "35," probably an allusion to the I-35W Mississipi river bridge. This bridge is mentioned in several parts of the album, alongside common objects in the house, as coffee and the TV, helping create a movie playing in our heads.
Jordan also mentioned using his grandparents' story to write the song "The Child We Lost 1963," one of the most touching songs on the album once you get the story that served as inspiration for it. We're taken back and forth through the character's life with the one he loved, having fights, tender moments and his recollection of memories after she's gone depicted as we listen, closing with "Objects in Space," a track about how small collected objects can contain such history about one's past. Once again the imagery is vivid, depicting the character examining several objects (some mentioned in previous moments of the album), describing how each one takes him back to a different time and place with that person in his past, and how it moves his emotions. // 10
Overall Impression: La Dispute's music has always been a kind of a grower. You have to spend some time with it to appreciate the nuances and get the details of the stories told behind the desperate spoken words. If you're used to La Dispute and didn't listen to it yet (which I find hard, given the release date and this review's date), you know what to expect. If you're into earlier post-hardcore/indie/'90s emo or have an appreciation for emotive, though-provoking music in general and still didn't listen to this band, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite albums of the year so far. // 9
Rooms Of The House
tmckeevt, on august 05, 2014 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Rooms of the House" opens with their classic conversation-like vocals and fast strumming rising in intensity building to the unique sound they've become famous for. Not only does it contain the raw vocals and blaring guitars of post-hardcore, but it starts to drift towards the rhythm and tones of punk and, at times, jazz/blues. These changes can be seen most in "Woman (In Mirror/Reading)" and "Objects in Space." The album ties together almost seamlessly the hardcore aspects of "Vancouver" as well as the poetic/acoustic aspects of their experimental albums "Here, Hear I-III." // 8
Lyrics: La Dispute's lyrics are very complicated and could be analyzed for days. Much of them are not designed as lyrics but as poetry, with no definite chorus, verse, or bridge. This allows them to open up to a whole new type of expression not limited to any format. As the album goes on you can pick out recurring themes in songs, some even from other albums. Many of them tell a story, a prime example being "Objects in Space," which talks about a man reminiscing about his past. He looks at all these objects reminding him of his past and what could have happened, but in the end he has to move on. // 10
Overall Impression: "Rooms of the House" was the first album by La Dispute I heard and, for the moment, is my favorite. It combines the hardcore aspects of "Vancouver" with the acoustic melodies of "Here, Hear." Any dislike of this album is certainly from personal preference not lack of quality. All the members of La Dispute are clearly talented professional musicians and artists, capable of conveying a large amount of emotion in all their work. If I were to somehow loose my music collection, this album would be at the top of the list to regain.
Top Tracks: 1. Extraordinary Diner Party 2. First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice 3. The Child We Lost 1963 // 9