Words by: Alison Seroude
Release Date: March 18th, 2014
La Dispute have established themselves as the impossible to categorize five-piece band over the course of their short ten year career. Rooms of the House is the third full length EP from the Michigan quintet (following 2011’s groundbreaking Wildlife) and is an album that has further solidified the musical progression that La Dispute is more than capable of displaying.
Although former La Dispute albums have been more or less described as “screamo” or “post-hardcore”, sharing an umbrella with bands like At The Drive-In and Refused; Rooms of the House is an album that continues to display La Dispute’s musical evolution. After leaving their label No Sleep Records in opt of working under their own label Better Living, La Dispute locked themselves away in a cabin to write this incredible and unclassifiable concept album about a failing relationship originally thought to last forever.
Jordan Dreyer’s poetic versus’ and amazing verbal imagery may be unmistakable when telling the story of a failing marriage, but Rooms of the Houses could easily be mistaken as a different bands work on a first listen. Dreyer’s familiar raw vocals have been stripped away in comparison to former albums like Somewhere At the Bottom of the river… Songs like “First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice” and “Scenes From Highway 1981-2001” give La Dispute a more pop like essence while guitarists Kevin Whittemore and Chad Sterenberg maintain the gritty La Dispute guitar instrumentation that made fans fall in love back in 2004 upon the bands formation.
Songs like “Woman (In Mirror)” bring the album back to an even newer La Dispute sound, toning down Dreyer’s vocals and the bands complex and spastic sound. Despite sounding vastly different from the more familiar LaDispute albums of their early career, they still manage to maintain their strangely unique and irreproducible sound. La Dispute have the incredible talent to remain “La Dispute” even when branching off to a more pop-like sound while also using Dreyer’s vocals on a smaller scale to give more emphasis when needed in songs like “35”.
Upon the initial listen Rooms of the House doesn’t seem to quite reach the same heights as La Dispute’s other full length albums and EPs, but upon a second and third and fourth listen Rooms of the House grows on you as a fan and Dreyer’s poetic imagery and the bands incredible musicianship truly starts to shine through. Dreyer has an amazing talent to make the listener imagine and feel for his characters while the band uses their amazing musical talent to perfectly back up his words and voice.
La Dispute finishes off this incredible album with the song “Objects In Space” which is incredibly reminiscent of their early work from the Here, Hear EPs with songs like “One” and “Six”. Rooms of the House flows beautifully from song to song and transitions in a natural and unforced manner. La Dispute’s third full length album will leave you wanting more, whether it be a more classic gritty La Dispute sound or begging to have the album last longer than simply 41 minutes. Either way, Rooms of the House does not disappoint and La Dispute have successfully achieved a new yet similar and unique sound that most bands can only ever dream of accomplishing.
Catch La Dispute with Pianos Become Teeth & Mansions at the Opera House in Toronto on April 7th!