Artist: La Dispute
Album: Rooms of the House
As a long-time fan of La Dispute, it was no surprise to me that I would enjoy this (their most recent) album. This band was essentially the reason I got so involved with the music scene in my old hometown, Grand Rapids, MI. Having listened to them through all of my teen years, I would say that I have a distinct biased towards this band. Having said that, I will do my best to write an unbiased review. It’s incredible to me that I can go to a store here in the small town of Hutchinson, Kansas and find this album sitting on the shelves. This band that I basically grew up listening to in their early days, going to their shows at Skelletones, a little underground (literally) venue in Grand Rapids (when it still existed), It was in that basement that I began to feel the incredible power music could have on communities and how it can bring so many perfect strangers together so strongly - if not for just a few moments. How music can challenge, inform and connect. Following their progress, anticipating new releases like their ambitious and unique “Here, hear” series of albums, I feel like I’ve watched this band grow up from when it was a small, mostly composed, slightly spastic child to a now Mature, well orchestrated, fully composed adult.
Rooms of the House’s songs all reference one another - telling a story - several stories, including many true stories - most of all dealing with the history of Michigan, even using some of them (like tornadoes) as metaphors for ‘storms’ in a relationship, etc.
The sound of this album is a little bit of a stray from La Dispute’s normal sound - a bit mature of a sound that feels more composed than some of their previous works. To me, there seems to be a lot less passion in the vocals of this album, and a lot more emphasis on the actual lyrics themselves, rather than the vocals conveying them, which works really well for this album, since it is telling so many stories.
After several listens to this album, I’ve found myself most listening to the songs “Hudsonville, MI 1956” and “35” (since they’re closely related to one another) as well as “Woman” and “Stay Happy There” are among some of my favorite tracks on this album.
Putting this album up against all their previous works puts me in a weird place when trying to rate this, but all in all, I think it’s a great addition to their already great discography, and while I don’t think it’s their best, most passionate, raw, album yet, I still think it’s great in it’s own right.
“Somewhere I’m up past dawn till
Somewhere you live here still
Somewhere you’re already gone”