ALBUM REVIEW: La Dispute – Rooms of the House


Album: Rooms of the House
Artist: La Dispute
Release Date: March 18, 2014.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
For fans of: Touché Amoré, Pianos Become the Teeth, and Defeater.

By Marisa Martel. Arguably La Dispute‘s most popular record to date, Wildlife seemed like a hard album to live up to at the time of its release in 2011 with overwhelming success and popularity, but the band from Grand Rapids, Michigan have yet again put out another impressive album, titled Rooms of the House. Produced by Will Yip, who’s gained notable popularity for working with and helping to release many albums particularly in the past year, this album brings a new sound to associate with La Dispute’s name.

Opening with “HUDSONVILLE MI 1956”, this is a great introductory track to the album, displaying elements of their older music; raw vocals which portray their signature openly sincere and captivating lyrics. Then comes “First Reactions After Falling Through The Ice”, but the third track, “Woman (in Mirror)” is what initially captured my interest on the album. It’s one of their softer, calmer pieces, featuring spoken word paired with melodic guitar tones but a quick rhthym. At first, it seems slightly out of place, but listen further and you’ll notice that it’s beautifully composed and put together. As the album progresses, you find more pieces like this one, softer but just as vivid as other tracks on the record. “For Mayor In Splitsville” and “35” don’t come through as anything particularly special to me, but “SCENES FROM HIGHWAYS 1981-2009” and “THE CHILD WE LOST 1963” are both tracks reminiscent of “King Park”, a popular track off of Wildlife, in the sense that that the two tell their own elaborate stories. They’re both unbelievably gut-wrenching and powerful, and fans of their previous releases will particularly enjoy these two tracks, which bring back hints of their other works.

“Stay Happy There”, the seventh track on the album was the first song to be released off this album, as a single. Vocalist Jordan Dreyer’s powerful vocals come through nicely, and paired with a fast paced melody, it’s a great signature track, even with a few lines of spoken word. The bass and percussion come through quite strongly, and are fueling components to this track, adding to its energy. The vocals aren’t quite what you would call ‘agressive’, but come through very powerful. “Woman (reading)” is matched with soft guitar tones, but a quick tempo, which may sound like a strange combination, but the band works it out quite nicely.  It progresses into a heavier sound as it ends, but is a great track off the album all-together.

“Extraordinary Dinner Party” is again another strange combination, which works out nicely – melodic, upbeat music matched to raw vocals. The transition from this track to the last one on the album is impeccable; being one of the perks you gets from sitting down listening to an album back to back. “Objects In Space”, the final track, is a great end to the album, and my absolute favourite track off the album. This track is completely spoken, which makes it quite beautiful, and the music in this track particularly is quiet, yet jarring, nostalgic and melancholy all at the same time. The lyrics, although spoken very serenely, are captivating, the chorus hauntingly beautiful, with rich guitar tones and shows how well they understand the emotions that certain tones will bring, and leaves you wanting more.

With Rooms of the House, this band brings a new sound that is pleasantly surprisingly to both fans of the band as well as new listeners. It’s unlike any of their other releases in the sense that it is not as raw as their “usual” sound, but still with the same powerful and crushing words, yet it is also a great representation of what their music is, which is powerful, well-thought out lyrics with strong and melodic accompianments. When listening to this album, it was reminiscent of Here, Hear III with the same calmer tones, but just as powerful as their other releases. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to La Dispute yet, Rooms of the House is a great album to start with, especially for those un-accustomed to the sounds exhibited in their previous records such as Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Altair and Vega and Wildlife. This fifth album brings a refined and ‘softer’ sound, you could say, but holds onto and displays the same honesty and sincere passion that La Dispute has always, and continues to bring forth with their music.

Check out the first single off of the album, “Stay Happy There”

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