LA DISPUTE – ‘Rooms Of The House’
(Out Now on Staple Records)
THE STYLE OF LA DISPUTE’S ROOMS OF THE HOUSE feels more like a Shakespearean play than a concept album. Through vocalist Jordan Dreyer’s lengthy monologues and drawn out narratives, it’s as if Hamlet went punk rock. Listeners hear 11 tracks of sorrow and guilt from a tragic hero and Dreyer treats the vocal booth like a confessional, at times sounding like a man in a coffee shop during poetry night. Opener ‘Hudsonville MI 1956’ could be titled ‘Rooms of The House 101:’ a college course that helps depict the theories of the forthcoming tracks.
‘First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice’ calls for studying the liner notes, because remembering the lyrics will be as rewarding as receiving a Master’s degree. ‘Woman (in mirror)’ is Fugazi meets folk and shows the band at complete ease in their environment. It’s impossible not to sway to the virulent beats of drummer Brad Vander Lugt who’s performance is protagonist worthy, his skills a match for the layered grooves of American Football and Braid. The spoken lyrics of ‘For Mayor in Splitsville’ act as a combo of Geoff Rickley of Thursday and Billy Werner of Saetia. ‘Stay Happy There’ inhabits the angst of Defeater and is their most impressive display of shaping aggression and anxiety into splendor. ‘The Children We Lost 1963’ drives like stop-and-go traffic, cruising at random times between 15 and 60 mph, while ‘Woman (reading)’ is more Fugazi funk with alluring lower vocal registers.
The saga ends with ‘Objects in Space’, the intricate guitar parts disappearring behind Dreyer’s personal account, making Rooms Of The House an album this band needed to make for cathartic reconciliation. Hardcore fans will be receptive to the ‘house tour,’ while new listeners may ignore the open invite. As ever, it’s a free market. (7)