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Album Review
La Dispute - Rooms Of The House Album Cover

La Dispute - Rooms Of The House

Reviewed by
9.5
La Dispute - Rooms Of The House
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Record Label: Better Living/Staple
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
There is history in the rooms of the house.

The living room where you found out that bridge collapsed. The kitchen where you got that devastating phone call. The bedroom where your relationship began and ended.

There is history in the rooms of the house.

There's a haunting aura to the title of La Dispute's third studio album (and first on own imprint Better Living), as vocalist Jordan Dreyer calmly sets the stage on the thunderous opener "HUDSONVILLE MI 1956." Rooms Of The House chronicles the erosion and collapse of a marriage using firsthand accounts, parallels of other relationships, and metaphors showing decay, destruction, and collapse.

Dreyer's lyrics and delivery are frequently short, chaotic, and fragmented - a reflection on how suddenly everything has fallen apart. It's an example of how a dramatic change in life leads to outbursts, incomplete thoughts, and the inability to see the big picture at the moment. Rooms Of The House captures these feelings perfectly and it's the strongest performance of Dreyer's career - he's never sounded this confident vocally, whether it's his Aaron Weiss-like mumble to the emphatic shouts on songs like "HUDSONVILLE MI 1956" and "Stay Happy There." Dreyer holds your attention throughout, oftentimes demanding it.

Musically, La Dispute has always been able to hang its hat on the dynamic rhythm section of bassist Adam Vass and drummer Brad Vander Lugt and Rooms is no different. "For Mayor in Splitsville" features more pop-oriented and softer melodies than your average La Dispute song but it's executed flawlessly. Vass and Vander Lugt pace the song, building towards its climactic breakdown. And it isn't until Dreyer repeatedly screams, But I guess, in the end, we just moved furniture around, that you truly feel the heartbreaking nature of the track. On "Scenes From Highways 1981-2009," Vass' expertly entwines bass-lines between dueling guitar riffs (courtesy of Kevin Whittemore and Chad Sterenberg).

Produced by Will Yip, each of the album's eleven tracks are distinct enough to avoid any retreads while still keeping the album's theme cohesive. The shuttering "35" is a dramatic re-telling of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in 2007 - it's a devastating moment akin to Wildlife's "King Park." It's the recreation of these events where the band really shines, as Dreyer's strained vocals become more frenetic as the volume and damage increases. Even if you can't relate to some of these re-tellings, La Dispute has a knack of making it relatable - and if you can relate, it's an utter gut punch (the perilous "First Reactions After Falling Through The Ice" is another instance, paralleling the collapse of "35"). La Dispute continues to create music that requires visceral reactions from listeners. Rooms Of The House tackles all the things that could potentially unravel relationships. From the harrowing "THE CHILD WE LOST 1963" (a younger sibling learns of the stillbirth their parents had) to the driving tension of "Stay Happy There" (wishing you could have just been content with your life), La Dispute puts everything on the table.

There is nothing holding back the band creatively here, as each member explores the deepest crevices of La Dispute's sound throughout - prime examples being the two "Woman" tracks. "Woman (in mirror)" and "Woman (reading)" are observations the narrator has of his wife during their ill-fated marriage. Both are serene, gentle reprieves from Rooms constant bursts of energy and could both fit in stylistically on Radiohead and Modest Mouse albums. From the barely-there bass groove on the former to the latter's explosive finish, both "Woman" tracks offer important context to the chaos of the album's nine other tracks.

It's no surprise that La Dispute's third album features impeccable storytelling yet again as each song is tied together, referencing the same lyrics, themes, and patterns. The main difference between Rooms Of The House and the previous two releases is that, at just under 42 minutes long, the album maintains the emotional wallop of its predecessors while featuring the most concise and focused material of the band's discography, thus giving said wallop even more oomph. It's fitting that La Dispute is releasing their best album in their tenth year as a band - all the growing pains and maturation over the years have led to this triumph. Rooms Of The House is an album that refuses to be pigeonholed or boxed in by someone's standards of "what post-hardcore should be." Instead, La Dispute span multiple genres, tempos, and inspirations over the course of LP3, resulting in an album that's equally exhausting as it is enchanting.

The contemplative spoken-word of closer "Objects in Space" works as the album's calm after the storm - the figuring out of what to do next after facing the consequences of what's transpired. It serves as a quiet epilogue against all the noise of Rooms Of The House first ten tracks - an attempt to give the history of the rooms in the house (and its participants) some closure.

9.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 129
03:51 AM on 03/17/14
#2
caretoexplain
tertium non datur
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I think it's also worth noting how the themes of the album encompass several levels , each connected ( a family /their house/the Michigan area , where the house is located ) and all the songs are not alone standing entities, but rather referencing each other in one way or other. Great review, great album, can't wait for my vinyl.
03:52 AM on 03/17/14
#3
stereokiller
Howdy.
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Is it 3rd or 4th album? In the second to the last paragraph it says 3rd.

I'll check this out.
03:53 AM on 03/17/14
#4
Drew Beringer
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Is it 3rd or 4th album? In the second to the last paragraph it says 3rd.

I'll check this out.
third - first paragraph was a typo
03:54 AM on 03/17/14
#5
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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I think it's also worth noting how the themes of the album encompass several levels , each connected ( a family /their house/the Michigan area , where the house is located ) and all the songs are not alone standing entities, but rather referencing each other in one way or other. Great review, great album, can't wait for my vinyl.
agreed - I probably could have written close to 2000 words on this album, but like La Dispute I did a lot of self-editing haha
04:46 AM on 03/17/14
#6
FranktheRabbit
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ew, what a uneducated review, you need to do a bit more research on the band buddy.
05:02 AM on 03/17/14
#7
Micah511
Let's Talk About Your Hair
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ew, what a uneducated review, you need to do a bit more research on the band buddy.
I'll never understand the need for someone who has obviously expressed a dislike of a record to continually come into threads specifically about said albums with the sole purpose to talk shit. Go do something more productive with your time.
05:36 AM on 03/17/14
#8
iamalexenglish
I AM KING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!
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What a well written review! This makes me even more excited to listen to this!
05:48 AM on 03/17/14
#9
FranktheRabbit
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pft, not anywhere near as bad as a bunch of uneducated fuqs talking up a bands worst album.
05:59 AM on 03/17/14
Drew Beringer
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ew, what a uneducated review, you need to do a bit more research on the band buddy.
Your trolling is sub par
06:01 AM on 03/17/14
tottivillarossi
these pretzels are makin me thirsty
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Surprised to see Radiohead dropped in this review. Never put that one together, myself.
06:04 AM on 03/17/14
Drew Beringer
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Surprised to see Radiohead dropped in this review. Never put that one together, myself.
it's really just on Woman (in mirror) - that gentle guitar riff is very reminiscent (to me at least) of some of the quieter stuff Radiohead did on In Rainbows and King of Limbs
06:30 AM on 03/17/14
njdevils327
You know Craigslist? That's my list
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Where*
06:37 AM on 03/17/14
brook183
Leave the lunchmeat for the sharks
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Nailed it
06:40 AM on 03/17/14
Drew Beringer
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lol whoops - thanks

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