July 30, 2014
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Review: Gloomy album exudes emotion

"Rooms of the House"

La Dispute

La Dispute’s distinctive punk-infused post-rock style is on full display in its emotionally captivating LP, “Rooms of the House.” Lyrical anecdotes of lost love, homes and family members are painted and tied together by infectious, clean guitar riffs that tug at even the most desensitized of heartstrings, delivering the listener a rich, psychological catharsis.

The band gives its poetic lyrics life through its signature, impassioned shout- and spoken-word style. But this time, vocalist Jordan Dreyer shows impressive maturation by adding more melody to his youthful croon, evident in the first track, “Hudsonville, MI 1956.” Dreyer belts, “I couldn’t get through to you when quiet storms came rattled the window panes/ Couldn’t keep a thing the same way when the storm blew in and the furniture rearranged,” while balancing delicately between melodic vocals and harsh shrills.

The instrumental track “First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice” shows the band’s progressive edge. It begins with echoing chords and fast-paced drums that give the track a groovy feel, until palm-muted chords help stabilize the track. Then, abruptly, a light drum roll sounds out over dynamic guitar riffs, modifying the song’s sound so dramatically that it seems like an entirely different track. Despite the severity of these musical changes, La Dispute effortlessly integrates them throughout the album’s duration and may help a variety of music fans find pleasure in their aggressive tone.

“Woman (Reading)” offers dreary ska drums accompanied by bone-chilling guitar riffs. It slowly crescendos to an epic explosion of sound anchored by the heavy-hitting chords of rhythm guitarist Chad Sterenberg. “Objects in Space” closes the album with a melancholy resolution composed of quiet drum beats, along with both acoustic and electric guitar behind Dreyer’s soft ballad.

The album’s hypnotic instrumentation, rife with its somber vocals, is uncommon among contemporary musicians, even in the world of more experimental music. This vocal superiority, backed by the band’s avant-garde instrumentation, makes this album a top-notch release. The outspoken lyrics make “Rooms of the House” an album worth listening to.